Sheynnis Palacios Crowned Miss Universe 2023 in a Night of Firsts

Sofia Jones
 | November 19, 2023

Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios was named the winner of the 2023 Miss Universe competition.

She made history by beating 84 contestants from around the world to become the first from her country to win the title.

“Palacios was the first-ever Nicaraguan to win the title and marks the country’s fifth time placing in the semifinals,” People magazine writes.

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

“Palacios appeared to secure the win when she confidently answered the question of which woman’s shoes would she like to spend a year in by saying Mary Wollstonecraft, the 18th-century English writer and philosopher,” the AP reports. “Wollstonecraft was an advocate of women’s rights and is considered one of the forerunners of feminism.”

The 72nd edition competition was held at the José Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador. Another first.

Latinas in the World Spotlight

The first Latin American woman to wear the Miss Universe crown was Gladys Zender, a Peruvian model, in 1957. 

In April 2021, Andrea Meza, a model from Mexico, was crowned Miss Universe at a gala held in South Florida. Other Latin American women who have worn the crown include Dayanara Torres from Puerto Rico, Alicia Machado from Venezuela, and Paulina Vega from Colombia, Ximena Navarrete from Mexico, Amelia Vega from the Dominican Republic, Zuleyka Rivera from Puerto Rico, and Cecilia Bolocco from Chile, and Paulina Vega of Colombia.

The following list includes other Latinas who have made history of the years, according to our friends at Mamas Latinas.

  • Luz Marina Zuluaga, the first to win for Colombia
  • Norma Beatriz Nolan, the first winner from Argentina
  • Iêda Maria Vargas, the first Brazilian Miss Universe
  • Martha Vasconcellos, who gave Brazil another win
  • Marisol Malaret, the first Boricua to win the contest

A Night of Historic Firsts

The grandeur of the Miss Universe 2023 pageant unfolded with a series of unprecedented moments, marking a night of historic firsts. 

Hosted by a trio of influential women, Olivia Culpo, Jeannie Mai Jenkins, and Maria Menounos, the event etched its name in history as the first-ever edition to feature an all-female emcee team.

In a groundbreaking move, the pageant shattered its own conventions by opening its doors to married women and mothers, a pioneering step in its extensive history. 

The international stage also showcased the participation of two openly transgender women, Marina Machete representing Portugal, and Rikkie Kollé from the Netherlands, as reported by CNN affiliate WLWT5.

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Featured image is from the image Hoja Suelta, by José Guadalupe Posada, 1901.
Photo of Ice Spice MetroCard courtesy of the MTA.
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