Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Nicaragua’s 2023 representative, won the Miss Universe title, becoming the first woman from her country to do so in the competition’s history.
The 23-year-old mental health activist and audiovisual producer won the contest in San Salvador, El Salvador on Saturday. According to USA Today, the organization shared on Instagram that Palacios copes with anxiety and launched a TV segment called “Understand Your Mind,” in which she interviews experts in emotional care.
Before the competition, she wrote on Instagram, “Nicaragua, I feel you in my heartbeat; the sound of your marimba runs through my veins. I will show what Nicaraguans are made of valor, courage, and determination.”
When asked in the final round who she would like to spend a day with, CNN reported that Palacios selected feminist and eighteenth-century British philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, asserting that she broke barriers and “gave an opportunity to many women.”
Through a translator, she said, “There are no limitations for women today.”
According to Africa News, the trailblazer stated that she wants to work to promote mental health after experiencing crippling episodes of anxiety herself.
This year’s competition allowed married women and mothers to compete for the first time. The pageant also included a Miss Pakistan for the first time.