Nicaragua’s bet is Miss Universe 2023; Michelle Dee of PH in Top 10
Michelle Marquez Dee may not have won the Miss Universe crown, but her Top 10 finish has put the Philippines back on the international beauty pageant map, after last year’s representative Celeste Cortesi broke the country’s 12-year placement streak in the global tilt.
The professional model, host and actress embarked on the difficult task of asserting the Philippines’ status as a pageant powerhouse, but ended her journey after the evening gown segment, missing a spot in the crucial question-and-answer round with the Top 5 delegates.
The crown eventually went to Dee’s fellow Miss World alumna Sheynnis Palacios, who scored Nicaragua’s first ever victory in the Miss Universe pageant. The Latin beauty bested 83 other aspirants to inherit the title from Filipino-American sustainable fashion designer R’Bonney Gabriel at the conclusion of the coronation show held at the Jose Alfonso Pineda Arena in the El Salvadoran capital of San Salvador on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila).
2 mothers in tilt
When asked during the final round, which woman she would choose had she been given a chance to live one year in a woman’s shoes, Palacios chose British philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft.
“She opened the gap and gave an opportunity to many women. And what I would do, I would want that income gap [to] open up so that women could work in an area that they choose to work in, because there are no limitations for women. That was 1750. Now, in 2023, we are making history,” she replied through an interpreter.
This year’s competition also saw the participation of the first two mothers on the international stage. Mother of two Camila Avella of Colombia even finished in the Top 5. Two transgender European women also took part this year, with Portugal’s Marina Machete becoming the first trans delegate to make it to the semifinal round.
Nepal’s Jane Garrett, meanwhile, earned loud cheers inside the arena when she was called to the Top 20 and during her turn in the swimsuit competition. The full-figured nurse challenged global beauty standards and championed body positivity.
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant is the 72nd edition of the global tilt. Next year’s competition will be held in Mexico, organizers announced.
To date, the Philippines has four Miss Universe title-holders—Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015) and Catriona Gray (2018). —CONTRIBUTED INQ