Nicaragua’s Shennesis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe 2023 at the annual beauty pageant held on Saturday night in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. Thailand’s Antonia Porsild was the first runner-up.
Contestants from 84 countries participated in this year’s Miss Universe, evaluated by a panel including model Halima Aden, “Queer Eye” star Carson Kressley, TikTok influencer Avani Gregg, and two former Miss Universe winners, Janelle Commissiong from Trinidad and Tobago (Miss Universe 1977) and Iris Mittenaere from France (Miss Universe 2016).
After the preliminary competition (and a global fan vote), the action kicked off on Saturday night with the announcement of the top twenty semi-finalists. Following the swimsuit round, the field was narrowed down to ten – including the first “Sudaul” contestant, Miss Nepal, who secured her place in the semi-finals, and the first contestant to choose a burkini as her swimsuit, Miss Pakistan, along with others. The evening gown round once again cut the number of contestants in half.
In the intense rounds of hot topic questions, only three women remained in the competition: Palacios, Porsild, and the second runner-up, Australia’s Maria Wilson.
When asked in the final round whom she would like to spend a day with in her life, Palacios chose the 18th-century British philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, stating that she broke boundaries and “gave many women a chance.”
Through an interpreter, she said, “Today there are no limits for women.”
Miss Colombia, Camila Avella, and Miss Puerto Rico, Carla Guilfu, remained in the top five, while another member of the top 10, Spain’s Athenea Perez, was awarded the title of Miss Congeniality in the competition.