Miss Nicaragua wins Miss Universe 2023

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR - NOVEMBER 18: Miss Nicaragua  Sheynnis Palacios is crowned as Miss Universe 2023 during the 72nd Miss Universe Competition at Gimnasio Nacional José Adolfo Pineda on November 18, 2023 in San Salvador, El Salvador. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe Saturday night in El Salvador during the 72nd competition.

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Palacios is the first from her country to wear the crown, according to The Associated Press. Palacios, 23, is a communicologist. She said she wants to help promote mental health after she went through anxiety herself.

The first runner-up was Miss Thailand, Anntonia Porsild, and the second runner-up was Miss Australia, Moraya Wilson, the AP reported. A total of 84 women competed for the crown.

The judging panel at this year’s Miss Universe included model Hallima Aden, Carson Kressley from “Queer Eye,” Tik Tok influencer Avani Greey and two former winners of Miss Universe, Janelle Commissiong of Trinidad & Tobago who was Miss Universe in1977 and Iris Mittenaere of France who was Miss Universe in 2016, according to CNN.

The night started with 25 semifinalists who were selected after the preliminary competition. The finalists were narrowed down to 10 after the swimsuit round. According to CNN, the first “curvy” contestant was eliminated which was Miss Nepal. The first contestant who wore a burkini as their swimsuit Miss Pakistan, was also eliminated that round.

The evening gown round cut the finalists down to five, CNN reported. Two rounds of hot topic Q&As left the competition to three women: Palacios, Porsild and Wilson.

Spain’s Athenea Pérez was crowned Miss Congeniality., according to CNN.

The last time Miss Universe was held in El Salvador was in 1975. This year’s pageant was an opportunity for President Nayib Bukele to show the changes his administration has made including improving the safety in the country, the AP reported.

“El Salvador has changed for good and we have shown it again,” Bukele said Saturday night, according to the AP. “Miss Universe has given us the opportunity to show the world what we are capable of. Thank you for choosing to be part of El Salvador’s rebirth.”

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