The three finalists of the 72nd edition of the Miss Universe pageant; Miss Thailand, Miss Australia and Miss Nicaragua stood waiting for question on the stage. ''If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?', was the question posed to each of them.
While Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild responded, "I would choose Malala Yousafzai because I know the struggles she had to deal with in order to get to where she is today," Australia's Moraya Wilson said, "I would live my mother’s. She is a very strong woman, she is tough, she taught me how to work hard, be brave, be strong. And I’m forever grateful for those lessons she taught me."
Meanwhile, Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios's answer ignited thunderous bouts of hoots and howls that swept across the hall. "I would choose Mary Wollstonecraft, because she opened the gap to give an opportunity to many women," she said, "What I would do is to have that income gap would open up so women could work in any area that they choose to work in because there are no limitations for women. That was 1750. Now in 2023 we are making history."
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was a British writer, advocate of women's rights and is regarded as one of the founding feminist philosophers. She has written novels, treatises, a history of the French Revolution, a children's book, among others
Nicaragua's Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe for the year 2023 on Saturday night at the Jose Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador, marking her country's first win at the international beauty pageant.
Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild emerged the first runner-up and Miss Australia Moraya Wilson was named the second runner-up at the event. Palacios was crowned by USA's R'Bonney Gabriel, who held the title of Miss Universe for the year 2022.
According to Miss Universe, Palacios is a 23-year-old mental health activist and audiovisual producer from Managua, Nicaragua. "She usually prefers to be behind the camera, but she's come out of the wings because she believes in finding solutions for as many of the world's problems as she can.
"As a problem-solving kind of person, she put herself through the communications program at her university by working in her mom's snack business. When the business faltered in an economic crisis, her mother migrated north to find a better job, and she became the economic and emotional support for her grandmother and young brother," the organisation said in the Instagram post.
As Miss Universe 2023, Palacios' cause will be mental health, which stems from her own experiences with anxiety. "Coming from a country where this issue is rarely addressed, she started an accessible initiative called 'Understand Your Mind,' in which she interviews a specialist on emotional care in her television segments. She has also produced events and other audiovisual projects on this theme.
"Her goal in life is to work in the service of humanity, by running a newsroom and producing content and commercials for international brands. In her spare time, she rescues cats and dogs, and loves a good mental game and puzzle," the organisation added.
Palacios bested entrants from 83 other countries, including Miss India Shweta Sharda, who was called into the list of top 20 contestants. The official Instagram handle of Miss Diva congratulated Sharda on her campaign at the pageant.
"The moment our LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2023, Shweta Sharda was called into the Top 20. Shweta, the nation is proud of your representation and we cannot wait to welcome you back with lots of love. Thank you for raising our flag high at the @missuniverse pageant," the organisation said in the post. Erica Robin, who was crowned the first-ever Miss Universe Pakistan 2023, also made it to the top 20.
(With inputs from PTI)