Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe 2023 on Saturday in San Salvador, El Salvador, shining onstage in a crystal-embellished gown that paid tribute to her roots.
The 23-year-old secured the first-ever Miss Universe title for her Central American country. Her long-sleeve gown with crystals decorating her chest, arms and torso also featured a vibrant blue shawl attached.
The sparkling frock was inspired by the Nicaraguan flag, which includes blue and white stripes along with the country’s National Coat of Arms at the center. Palacios secured a victory over first runner-up Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild, and second runner-up Miss Australia Moraya Wilson.
She was crowned by 2022 Miss Universe winner R’Bonney Gabriel.
“Nicaragua, I feel you in my heartbeat, the sound of your marimba flows through my veins. I carry the strength of a volcano in my being and I’m ready to take that crown to you,” Palacios captioned an Instagram post earlier on Saturday.
Palacios made another nod to her homeland during the National Costume show on Thursday, gracing the stage in a purple and black costume that was inspired by the Nicaraguan grackle bird species El Zanate. The custom ensemble, which included voluminous wings and a matching headpiece, was designed by Jorge Salazar Caliz.
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant featured contestants from 86 countries competing for the crown. Singer John Legend performed at the ceremony, which included Olivia Culpo, Jeannie Mai and Maria Menounos as hosts. The show was streamed on Roku. Clarisse Designs dressed all delegates for the opening numbers of the preliminary and final competitions, and Jojo Bragais was the footwear sponsor. Lebanese jewelry company Mouawad has been the official jeweler for the Miss Universe organization since 2019.