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Inclusivity, historic wins at Miss Universe 2023

MANILA, Philippines — In a year rife with new developments and controversies — from lifting the age requirement to allowing young mothers and transwomen to participate — the Miss Universe Organization crowned a new winner and a first-timer at that! It somehow dispelled rumors that the new queen was pre-ordained.

Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua bested 84 other international delegates at the close of the glitzy rites to be crowned the 72nd Miss Universe titleholder, and the very first for her country.

A consistent crowd favorite from the very start, including pageant leaderboards, Palacios effortlessly eased her way to the hotly-contested crown. Outgoing queen R'bonney Gabriel of the United States passed on her crown to the new queen.

Former Miss Supranational and Thai candidate Anntonia Porsild was named 1st runner-up while Australian bet Moraya Wilson was proclaimed 2nd runner-up. Completing the Top 5 were Karla Guilfu Acevedo of Puerto Rico and Camila Avella of Colombia, a proud mother of two.

Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Marquez Dee ended her journey with a much-deserved Top 10 finish. She was also one of three Gold winners of the Voice for Change advocacy project contest. Michelle shares the accolades with fellow winners Karla Guilfu Acevedo of Puerto Rico and Ana Barbara da Silva Coimbra of Angola. All three delegates will each receive $12,000 to further fund their respective outreach projects.

Together with Michelle Dee, Camila Esribens (Peru), Isabella Garcia-Manzo (El Salvador), Diana Silva (Venezuela) and Athenea Perez (Spain) competed in the Evening Gown segment after the Top 10 announcement.

If this year's edition is a portent of more good things to come in future Miss Universe editions, we laud the organization's innovations. With Pakistan's Erica Robin in the Top 20, this shows the MUO is recognizing new platforms and perspectives. Nepal's Jane Dipika Garrett is the swan song for body positivity that will, henceforth, echo in years to come. Portugal's Marina Machete has cemented the voice of the LGBTQIA+, first championed by Spain's Angela Ponce in 2018. And finally, Colombia's Camila Avella has made married women and mothers prouder than