Miss Nicaragua Crowned Miss Universe 2023

November 18th, 2023

ROKU, Telemundo

Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo, and TV personalities Jeannie Mai Jenkins and Maria Menounos hosted the pageant on Saturday, while John Legend performed.

A new Miss Universe has won the coveted crown!

Miss Nicaragua was named Miss Universe 2023 on Saturday after an evening of competition at the José Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador.

In a tense moment before the winner was announced, Miss Nicaragua, Sheynnis Palacios and Miss Thailand, Anntonia Porsild, stood on stage with their hands clasped together as the venue descended into darkness, with the exception of a spotlight on the two finalists.

After a lengthy silence that saw both women with their eyes closed as they waited for the winner to be announced, a voice was heard saying: “Nicaragua!”

A new Miss Universe has won the coveted crown!

The new, and 72nd, Miss Universe had an emotional reaction to her win, tearing up and holding her shaking hands up to her face as the crowd cheered.

The evening culminated with last year’s winner, R’Bonney Gabriel, 29, presenting Palacios with her crown as she passed on the title of Miss Universe to her successor.  Miss Australia, Moraya Wilson, placed third in the competition as second runner-up.

Palacios was the first-ever Nicaraguan to win the title and marks the country’s fifth time placing in the semifinals.

In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) the new Miss Universe celebrated her win by posting several images of herself wearing her new crown, along with the caption “Hello Universe,” in English as well as a message in Spanish noting that Nicaraguans had made history with her crowning.


In another first for the evening, Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo, and TV personalities Jeannie Mai Jenkins and Maria Menounos hosted the pageant, making it the first time the show was mc’d by an all-female team.

John Legend also performed during the night, and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, shared a series of posts on her Instagram Story from her position in the audience at the event.

In addition, for the first time in its history, the pageant allowed married women and mothers to compete. The international competition also featured two openly trans women, Marina Machete from Portugal and Rikkie Kollé from the Netherlands, according to CNN affiliate WLWT5.

The finalists were led through four rounds of competition: evening gown, swimwear, personal statements and in-depth interviews.

Among the questions Palacios was asked: If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?

“I would chose Mary Wollstonecraft because she opened the gap and gave an opportunity to many women,” she said through an interpreter, referring to the 18th century British writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights.

“And what I would do, I would want that income gap [to] open up so that women could work in any area they choose to work in because there are no limitations for women. That was the 1750s. Now in 2023, we’re making history.”

Palacios, who was born in Managua, Nicaragua, made her beauty pageant debut in 2016 when she won the Miss Teen Nicaragua title. She went on to win Miss World Nicaragua in 2020 and represented her home country at the Miss World 2021 competition, where she placed in the top 40. The 23-year-old beauty holds a degree in mass communications and played varsity volleyball for Universidad Centroamericana.

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