Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua emerged victorious in the Miss Universe 2023 event. This is the first time the esteemed competition has been won by a Nicaraguan competitor. In addition, the 72nd Miss Universe pageant attracted notice and appreciation for its initiatives to advance diversity and representation.
This year’s Miss Universe is being held in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, with 84 countries represented. Among those who have won national titles are two transgender women who represent Portugal and the Netherlands, as well as the first married competitors since this year’s eligibility restrictions were changed.
One of the first “curvy” contestants at Miss Universe is Miss Nepal Jane Garrett; Erica Robin is the first female representative of Pakistan in the pageant.
Let’s examine each of these unique competitors in more detail:
Miss Portugal Marina Machete
The 23-year-old flight attendant sent a touching message on her Instagram video after winning the title of Miss Portugal in October. “For many years it seemed impossible to dream of echoing my nation’s name across the universe, but this year it proved to be my destiny, and now I’m taking the hopes and dreams of the Portuguese people with me to El Salvador,” the author wrote.
Miss Netherlands Rikkie Kollé
A 22-year-old model and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights, created history by being the first transgender competitor to represent her nation. She posted a photo of herself on Instagram with the message, “Met wonderful people with different stories,” after entering the contest. I’m really happy that I brought attention to the rainbow family. I feel so many of you supporting me. I hope to continue sharing my narrative, which I have already done. Not only am I speaking for myself, but also for all the young Rikkies who have aspirations and goals in life. I’ll continue to vigorously defend those rights at all times.
Kollé won the Miss Netherlands title in July 2023 after defeating nine other candidates. The 22-year-old model is the second transgender person to compete for the Miss Universe title, after Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018. In an anti-bullying video for Voices for Change, Kollé fervently defends equality and denounces bullying because of her gender identification.
Plus Size Model
Miss Nepal Jane Dipika Garrett
Securing a berth in the top 20, this contestant is the first plus-size model. The 22-year-old is an advocate for mental health, hormone difficulties, and body positivity. She recently wrote on Instagram, saying, “I’m thankful to all of my supporters and admirers. What counts is that I did my best! I’m honoured to be defying beauty pageant norms and serving as a global ambassador for real-size beauty.
In addition, Miss Nepal’s outfit represented the horrors of war and—more importantly—Nepal’s efforts to bring about world peace. During her stroll down the runway, she let go of the plush dove that she had been carrying in a cage.
Miss Colombia Camila Avella
For her persistent drive, this happy wife and mother of one is receiving a ton of love. The contestant’s inspirational words were featured in a video that Ms. Avella and the Miss Universe official Instagram handle jointly published. The caption read, “Believe in yourself, use the voice you have and transform it to transform your lives, because yes it is possible.”
As to her bio, Avella works as a journalist and a model. She provides a variety of resources, including money management advice and mental health training, in an effort to empower young moms.
Miss Guatemala Michelle Cohn
This mother of two defied expectations by competing in Miss Universe. “THANK YOU GUATEMALA for allowing me to be your queen,” she wrote on Instagram, attaching a photo from the swimsuit round. It is an experience I will always remember. I’m grateful to God for this, my entire family, and everyone who helped me realise my dream.
Michelle Cohn, a 28-year-old mother of two, is also a model, an entrepreneur, and the creator of a brand. Her bio on the pageant’s Instagram page states that she launched a swimsuit line in 2016 and is committed to promoting equal opportunity through hiring deaf people. Her bio proudly highlights her status as the first mother selected to compete for her country in the Miss Universe pageant, aggressively dispelling misconceptions and promoting the empowerment of women.
Pakistan makes Debut
Pakistan competed in the Miss Universe beauty pageant for the first time in its 72-year history, making history. According to IST, Erica Robin represented Pakistan at the Miss Universe 2023 pageant, which took place on November 19 at the Jose Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador.
“I want to showcase Pakistan’s beauty and I am honoured and humbled to be the first Miss Universe Pakistan. Our lovely culture, which the media rarely mentions, is that of the generous, kind, and welcoming Pakistani people. In addition, after winning the title of inaugural Miss Universe Pakistan, she added, “I would like to invite everyone to visit my country and try the most delectable Pakistani cuisines as well as explore our enchanting nature, our snow-capped mountains, our greeneries, and our progressive landscapes.”