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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Nicaraguan bet crowned Miss Universe for first time

Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe 2023 on Saturday at the 72nd edition of the pageant, held this year in El Salvador.

Palacios, 23, received the crown and sash from her predecessor, R’Bonney Gabriel from the United States.

This is the first time a contestant from Nicaragua has won the contest, with Thailand’s Anntonia Porsild and Australia’s Moraya Wilson rounding out the top three.

Palacios, who said she considers humility and gratitude for little things as her main qualities, bested 84 contestants during a week of competitions that included posing in swimsuits, evening gowns, and traditional dresses.

In her final answer to the jury, Palacios emphasized the importance of equal pay regardless of gender so that women can “work in any area.”

“There is no limit for women,” she said.

Each participant paraded on a stage set up in the newly renovated Adolfo Pineda National Gymnasium, in the capital San Salvador.

The organizers of the gala, which was attended by El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele, also announced that the next edition will be held in Mexico.

The Philippines’ Michelle Dee made it to the Top 10 out of a field of 84 candidates.

Dee was a standout in her Apo Whang Od tattoo-inspired evening gown designed by Mark Bumgarner after impressing the audience in a one-piece red swimwear during the Top 10 swimwear competition.

She won the Spirit Cruise Award and was named one of the Gold Winners for the pageant’s “Voice for Change” category along with candidates from Angola and Puerto Rico. Each candidate will receive a $12,000 cash prize.

Dee’s entry focuses on advocating for autism acceptance, inclusivity, and empowerment.

The Top 20 group was a showcase of diversity and inclusivity with Miss Nepal 2023 Jane Dipika Garrett, the first plus-size contestant; Miss Colombia Maria Camilla Montanes, a mother; the first transgender Miss Netherlands Marina Machete; and a first-ever Miss Pakistan Universe Erica Robin.

Rounding out the Top 10 were Peru’s Camila Escribens, El Salvador’s Isabella García-Manzo, Venezuela’s Diana Silva, Spain’s Athenea Pérez, and Venezuela’s Diana Silva. With AFP

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