Miss Universe

Who is Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Universe 2023?

Ysa Abad

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Who is Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Universe 2023?

QUEEN. Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua is Miss Universe 2023.

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The 23-year-old mental health activist is the first Nicaraguan beauty queen to win the Miss Universe title

Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua took home the title of Miss Universe 2023 during the pageant’s coronation night in San Salvador, El Salvador on Saturday, November 18 (Sunday morning, November 19 in Manila).

Palacios bested 83 candidates to make history as the first delegate from Nicaragua to win the Miss Universe title. Prior to Palacios, the highest placement for the Central American nation in the Miss Universe pageant was in 2016 when their representative reached the Top 16. 

Aside from Palacios’ win, the Miss Universe 2023 edition also saw several historic firsts as it featured two mother candidates, two transgender women candidates, and a plus-sized candidate. 

On making her beauty queen dreams come true

At 23 years old, Palacios is no stranger to pageantry — having started competing in national pageants since she was 16. 

She bagged the title of Miss Teen Nicaragua in 2016 and finished as part of the Top 10 in the Miss Teen Universe pageant. In 2020, she won the Miss World Nicaragua pageant and represented her country anew at the Miss World 2021 edition, where she placed in the Top 40. 

Her pageantry experience shone through as she became one of the frontrunners for the Miss Universe 2023 competition, with several pageant pages and experts including the Nicaraguan beauty queen in their top picks. 

Prior to the Miss Universe 2023 coronation night, Palacios took to Instagram to reflect on her pageant journey.

“Tonight, I dedicate it to my inner girl and to each of the girls who yearn to fulfill this dream, even the sky itself is the limit, a dream so big that people think it is impossible to achieve. Because that is where you know that your dreams and goals will exceed obstacles, and remember to accompany them with determination, perseverance, and passion,” she said in Spanish. 

Palacios also expressed how proud she is to represent Nicaragua in the global tilt, saying that her “beautiful homeland…may be small but we are full of big dreams.” 

On advocating for education and mental health

Outside pageantry, Palacios, having earned a degree in Mass Communications at the Universidad Centroamericana, is a television host on a local channel. 

She speaks three languages: Spanish, Portuguese, and English. She’s also an adrenaline junkie who loves playing volleyball, claims that she’s happiest when she’s enjoying the sunset, and can’t live without her pets and family. 

In an Instagram post, the beauty queen said that it’s a “gift from heaven” to be part of the morning magazine Al Dia.

Happy and grateful for this opportunity,” she said. “If I got to talk to little five-year old Sheynnis, I wouldn’t believe that in the not too distant future I would be working with big screen characters.” 

Her passion for audiovisual production also fueled Palacios’ dream of starting her own production company. And whether she’s a producer or editor, she also uses her platform to advocate for social justice causes close to her heart, such as education and mental health. 

In her “Beauty with a Purpose” video for the Miss World 2021 pageant, Palacios discussed her initiatives on raising awareness about the importance of education for children, especially girls. 

As for the “Voice for Change” category in Miss Universe 2023, Palacios opened up how having anxiety pushed her to start the “Entiende tu Mente” or “Understand Your Mind” project, an initiative to emphasize the importance of mental health. 

In the video after she was called as part of the pageant’s Top 20, Palacios revealed that she even reached the point of harming her arms and pulling her hair. She added that at the time, she didn’t have the necessary tools to seek a specialist. Because of this, she launched her project.

“I want to provide everyone regardless of gender or age these tools, so they don’t have to suffer like I had to suffer,” she said. 

She also emphasized it on her “Voice for Change” video, saying: “I want to speak on mental health, especially on anxiety on women because the reality is, it is affecting people all over the world.” 

According to the Miss Universe organization, Palacios’ goal in life is “work in the service of humanity, by running a newsroom and producing content and commercials for international brands.”

Who is Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Universe 2023?
On her Miss Universe 2023 performance

Even before coronation night, the pageant veteran had already emerged as an early favorite for this year’s edition. 

During the preliminary competition, Palacios stunned the audiences with her embellished gown and flawless parasela during the swimsuit segment. However, it was her national costume – a purple and black ensemble inspired by the Nicaraguan grackle bird species El Zanate – that made waves online. Aside from the intricate costume – complete with wings and headpiece – Palacios aced the runway when she kneeled and flapped her costume’s wings. 

As for the coronation night, Palacios continued to advance to the next rounds as she delivered strong performances both in the swimsuit segment and evening gown competition. 

During the pageant’s Top 5 question and answer segment, she was asked about the qualities and values that guide her as a leader and role model for others. To which she answered with: “The quality that has inspired me and has inspired millions of women and girls is humility and to be able to appreciate the little things, because that’s where the most valuable thing is: the essence of being a human.” 

She then advanced to the Top 3 with Thailand’s Anntonia Porsild and Australia’s Moraya Wilson. All three remaining candidates were asked the same question in the final round: “If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?” 

Her winning answer was: “I would choose Mary Wollstonecraft, because she opened the gap to give an opportunity to many women. What I would do is to have that income gap 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.” 

In the Miss Universe website, Palacios said that the British philosopher and feminist has inspired her because of her “great courage.” 

As Miss Universe 2023, Palacios will be representing the organization until she eventually passes the crown in the next edition of the pageant. – Rappler.com

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