Miss Pakistan and Miss Nepal: Miss Universe 2023 contestants crowned so far

The 72nd pageant is set to be held in El Salvador in November

Miss Universe 2023 contestants from left: Mariana Downing (Dominican Republic), Lujane Yacoub (Bahrain), Shweta Sharda (India), Michelle Dee (Philippines) and Anntonia Porsild (Thailand). Photo: @marianadowningg, @missdivaorg, @themissuniverseph, @missuniverse.in.th / Instagram and Yugen Group
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The next Miss Universe pageant, to be held in El Salvador on November 18, will be historic in many ways. At the annual beauty contest's 72nd event, married women and mothers will be allowed to participate for the first time.

Announced last year, the rule change is one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the long-running competition, which previously only allowed single women, aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children.

Pakistan is set to send a representative for the first time, after Dubai company Yugen Group announced it had earned the franchise rights, while a number of countries who've been absent from the contest are set to return, including Egypt, Bangladesh, Guyana, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Norway and Zimbabwe.

Reigning Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel from the US will crown her successor, a number of countries have selected their representatives including pageant powerhouses Philippines and Venezuela.

Here are all the Miss Universe 2023 contestants crowned so far …

Miss Universe Pakistan: Erica Robin

Erica Robin and four other finalists were flown to a resort in the Maldives for the coronation. Photo: @missuniverse / Instagram

The fashion model, 24, from Karachi, is ready to be the face of Pakistan at the coming Miss Universe in November.

"I am honoured and humbled to be the first-ever Miss Universe Pakistan and I want to highlight the beauty ... and culture of Pakistan," she wrote in a post on Instagram, after being crowned at a ceremony held in Brennia Kottefaru resort in the Maldives on Thursday evening.

"I would like to invite everyone to visit my country and try the most sumptuous Pakistani cuisine and explore our enchanting nature, snow-capped mountains, greenery and progressive landscapes," she added.

During the question-and-answer section of the ceremony, the model was asked to pick any head of state she would like to have coffee and a conversation with.

"I would like to have coffee with Imran Khan," said Robin, and went on to talk about the dowry system in Pakistan. "I would ask him to make a strict law against dowry. I think this is one of the biggest problems right now faced by parents, who should be more concerned about women's education rather than stressing over dowry."

Miss Universe Nepal: Jane Dipika Garrett

Miss Universe Nepal 2023 Jane Dipika Garrett. Photo: @mun_missuniversenepal / Instagram

A positivity advocate, Garrett, 22, beat 20 other contestants to the title, winning judges over with her charm and advocacy for mental health. She also made history as the first plus-size contestant to win the Miss Universe Nepal crown.

"As a woman who is curvy and who does not meet certain beauty standards, I'm here to represent women who are curvy, who struggle with weight gain, who struggle with hormonal issues,” she said following her win.

“I believe that there is not only one type of beauty standard but every single woman is beautiful just as she is.”

Miss Universe El Salvador: Isabella Garcia-Manzo

Miss Universe 2023 El Salvador Isabella Garcia-Manzo. Photo: 
@misselsalvadorofficial / Instagram

All eyes will be on this business administration student, 20, come November, as she represents the host nation.

Garcia-Manzo beat 13 other contestants to the title and will now be among 80-plus competitors from around the world vying for the Miss Universe crown.

The coming pageant will be the second time El Salvador plays host to the contest. It last hosted the pageant in 1975, in San Salvador – Garcia-Manzo's home city – when Miss Finland took the crown.

“Grateful and excited for this experience. Leaving it all in God's hands. Thank you to all my supporters for your sweet messages. I love you all,” she posted on Instagram before her crowning.

Miss Universe Philippines: Michelle Dee

Michelle Dee, Miss Universe Philippines 2023. Photo: @themissuniverseph / Instagram

The actress from Makati, 28, beat 37 other candidates to win the crown in May. Dee won judges over at the competition by saying the best thing the Philippines can offer the world is its people, their warmth and hospitality.

In the competition's final round at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, the top five candidates were all asked – in reference to the Philippines’s new tourism slogan “we give the world our best” – what the country's greatest asset is.

“The Philippines is home to very beautiful natural resources, from the beaches to the mountains, but I believe that the best natural resources that the Philippines has is us Filipinos,” she said. “We are the true heart and soul of the Philippines with the way we are hospitable, with the warm smiles … and we are the reason why the world keeps coming back for more.”

Dee's mother, actress and producer Melanie Marquez, is a former beauty queen, having won the Miss International crown in 1979. Dee's cousin, actress and model Winwyn Marquez, is also a beauty queen, and was crowned Miss Reina Hispanoamericana – which celebrates Hispanic beauties – in 2017.

Dee also represented the Philippines at a global pageant when she won Miss World Philippines in 2019. She finished in the top 12 at the Miss World competition, held in London, where Jamaica's Toni-Ann Singh was crowned winner that year.

A psychology graduate, Dee is only the second Filipina to win both the Miss World Philippines and Miss Universe Philippines crowns, after Catriona Gray.

Miss Universe India: Shweta Sharda

Miss Diva Universe Shweta Sharda will represent India at the Miss Universe 2023 pageant. Photo: @missdivaorg / Instagram

The Chandigarh-born model and dancer defeated 15 other contestants to claim the title at a glitzy ceremony in Mumbai, where she was crowned by last year's winner, Divita Rai. Sharda, 22, moved to Mumbai at the age of 17 to follow her dreams of making it in the world of entertainment.

She has since appeared in several reality shows including Dance India Dance and Dance Deewane. Her stint as a choreographer in another reality show, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, led her to work with a number of big Bollywood stars, including Deepika Padukone, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.

Most recently, Sharda starred in a music video for the song Mast Aankhein by Jubin Nautiyal and Tulsi Kumar, featuring alongside Bollywood actor Shantanu Maheshwari.

Raised by a single mother whom she considers her role model, Sharda says it was the same resolve with which she moved to Mumbai that led her to take part in Miss Diva, despite having no experience in beauty pageants.

“I feel that to be a changemaker one needs to be brave and confidently move forward to do what's right, and I've done that throughout my life,” she said in her profile for Miss Diva.

Miss Universe Bahrain: Lujane Yacoub

Lujane Yacoub has been crowned Miss Universe Bahrain 2023. Photo: Yugen Group

Second time's the charm for Lujane Yacoub. The actress, dancer and model won the Miss Universe Bahrain 2023 crown a year after she placed second at the annual beauty pageant.

Born to a Bahraini father and American mother, Yacoub, 19, impressed the judges with her “beauty, authentic communication skills and a passionate heart towards her advocacies,” the Miss Universe Bahrain organisation said.

“I joined last year because of the beautiful opportunity of new life experiences. But coming back this year, I had the conviction that I could be a voice for my people, a voice for young women in the Gulf,” Yacoub told The National.

“I promise that I will prepare extensively to represent the Gulf in the highest respect that our region deserves. The Arab world needs more positive representation, and I’m glad that I get to contribute to that goal.”

Miss Universe Venezuela: Diana Silva

Diana Silva, Miss Universe Venezuela 2023. Photo: @dianasf_ / Instagram

A model, actress and former cabin crew, Silva, 25, was crowned Miss Venezuela in November last year. It's not her first time winning a major crown, though. She won Miss Earth Venezuela in 2018 and competed at the Miss Earth pageant held in the Philippines that year.

An early favourite, Silva, however, collapsed backstage and injured her cheekbone, after making it to the Top 8 causing her run at the competition to abruptly come to an end. Silva was given urgent medical attention and was later confirmed to be out of danger.

“I have always thought that word has power. When we speak and are able to put it out, we are creating that reality around us,” she said after being crowned Miss Venezuela 2022. “This November 16th, I fulfilled what I had decreed a few years ago. It wasn't my performance that day that made me proud of the victory, but the effort, dedication and discipline that I had from day 1 to accomplish my goal.

Miss Universe Great Britain: Jessica Page

Miss Universe Great Britain 2023 Jessica Page. Photo: @jesspagelennon / Instagram

Miss Liverpool Jessica Page, 27, is a businesswoman who runs her own company, Oh My Cheesecake, which specialises in the dessert served up on sticks.

She beat 33 other contestants to the Miss Universe Great Britain title.

“My mission is simple – to inspire, educate and empower by providing the tips and tricks I wished I’d received as a first-time business owner,” she says on the Miss Universe Great Britain website.

Miss Universe Brazil: Maria Brechane

Miss Universe Brazil 2023 Maria Brechane. Photo: @mari_brechane / Instagram

Crowned Miss Rio Grande do Sul 2023 in May, Brechane represented her state at the Miss Universe Brazil pageant, and went on to win the crown. At 19, the model, actress and journalism student is the youngest Miss Universe Brazil winner in history.

“It's a shock, but it's a lot of gratitude too, for all the people who believed in me … gratitude to God and gratitude to yourself, because it's not an easy path. You need to have a lot of self-confidence and self-knowledge,” she said following her crowning.

Miss Universe France: Diane Leyre

Miss Universe France 2023 Diane Leyre. Photo: @dianeleyreoff / Instagram

This Miss France 2022 winner did not get the chance to represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant last year owing to scheduling conflicts. Instead, it was runner-up Floriane Bascou who participated.

Organisers of Miss France have now named Leyre, 26, as the country's representative.

“One year after getting my crown back, I never gave up my dream to go back on stage to represent our country internationally,” Leyre, a model and business graduate posted on Instagram. “Determination and ambition are limitless. Thank you for supporting me since December 11, 2021 and giving me the strength to always believe. Let's go France!”

France has won the Miss Universe crown twice – Christiane Martel in 1953 and Iris Mittenaere in 2016.

Miss Universe Germany: Helena Bleicher

Miss Universe Germany 2023 Helena Bleicher. Photo: @natalieackermannofficial / Instagram

Hailing from Cologne, this multilingual beauty queen is fluent in English, French and German and has lived in Australia, the UK and US. She beat 20 other contestants to the Miss Universe Germany 2023 crown, which she said was a “moment I have been envisioning my whole life”.

“I still can't believe that this is real life and I am actually Miss Universe Germany,” she posted on Instagram soon after her win. “It feels like a dream come true, a dream that someday I can lift our flag. A dream to raise it so high that people will realise how honoured I am to be German, how humbled I am to bear that sash across my heart.”

Miss Universe Poland: Angelika Jurkowianiec

Miss Universe Poland 2023 Angelika Jurkowianiec. Photo: @miss.polski / Instagram

Jurkowianiec has been modelling since she was 16, a job that has taken her on assignments around the world. She beat 31 contestants to the Miss Polski title and will represent Poland at Miss Universe 2023 as well as at the Miss Supranational 2024 pageants.

A medical analytics student, Jurkowianiec is from Opole, a city in south Poland and one of the country's smallest cities.

Miss Universe Namibia: Jameela Uiras

Miss Universe Namibia 2023 Jameela Uiras. Photo: @jameela_uiras / Instagram

A model and marketing executive, Uiras, 23, beat nine other contestants to the Miss Universe Namibia title. She also won the Miss Photogenic award at the contest.

Uiras is from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

Miss Universe Netherlands: Rikkie Valerie Kolle

Miss Universe Netherlands 2023 Rikkie Valerie Kolle. Photo: @rikkievaleriekolle / Instagram

Crowned by none other than reigning Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel, Kolle, 22, is a model and actress who was the clear favourite to win the crown.

“This finalist shined throughout the show and has also made the greatest progress along the way. She has an iron-strong story with a clear mission. The jury is convinced that the organisation will enjoy working with this young woman,” the Miss Universe Netherlands organisation said after the crowning.

Miss Universe Spain: Athenea Perez

Miss Universe Spain 2023 Athenea Perez. Photo: @atheneaperezn / Instagram

Perez's road to beauty pageant glory has been a long-time coming. She first participated in the Miss World Spain competition when she was 17 but did not advance far in the competition. She said her journey is about determination and believing in yourself.

“At 17 years old, I introduced myself to Miss World Spain. I didn't rank, but I knew I would achieve something big one day,” she on Instagram after her crowning on July 2. “10 years later, I was crowned Miss Universe Spain 2023. Life makes it clear that dreams do come true. What is for you will come. That if you put your heart to something, it will come true.

“Together we will do something great. Together we will go for the next crown."

Miss Universe Bahamas: Melissa Ingraham

Miss Universe Bahamas 2023 Melissa Ingraham. Photo: @mel_jiggi  / Instagram

This Long Island beauty queen is an environmental scientist and a passionate advocate for climate change. She beat nine other contestants to the crown in July, and will be the 19th Miss Bahamas to represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant.

Ahead of her crowning, Ingraham said she hoped to inspire young women in The Bahamas “to pursue their dreams fearlessly.”

She also said she will take her passion about climate change to the international stage.

“The focus of my platform is straightforward: Climate change is here, and we must act to halt its damaging effects. Through my journey in the pageant, I hope to illuminate the path to sustainable practices and the measures necessary for us to unite and protect our planet. After all, we have just one planet, one chance,” she said.

Miss Universe Bolivia: Maria Estefany Rivero Giesse

Miss Universe Bolivia 2023 Maria Estefany Rivero Giesse. Photo: @merg96 / Instagram

Architect and interior designer Giesse beat 20 other contestants to the Miss Universe Bolivia crown in July. The glitzy event in Santa Cruz de la Sierra also crowned Bolivia's representatives for Miss International, Miss Grand International and Reina Hispanoamericana.

Giesse, 26, who was earlier crowned Miss Beni 2023, also goes by the name Estefany Rivero.

Miss Universe Ecuador: Delary Stoffers

Miss Universe Ecuador 2023  Delary Stoffers. Photo: @organizacionmissecuador / Instagram

Stoffers, 23, is a model and business student who represented the city of Guayaquil at the Miss Ecuador 2023 pageant.

“Everything makes sense today and I couldn’t be happier with the process, ups and downs needed to become the human I am now,” she said right before her crowning on July 1.

Miss Universe Malta: Ella Portelli

Miss Universe Malta 2023 Ella Portelli. Photo: @miss_universe_malta / Instagram

An interior designer and model, Portelli beat 24 other contestants to the Miss Universe Malta crown at an event held in her home city of St Julian's in June.

Portelli, 24, was also crowned Miss Congeniality at the pageant, and thanked her “Miss Universe sisters” for choosing her.

“This experience and meeting you all has been amazing and I am so glad to have met you all and call you my friends,” she said. “Beyond honoured and grateful to have been crowned Miss Universe Malta 2023.”

Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago: Faith Gillezeau

Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago 2023 Faith Gillezeau. Photo: @faithgillezeau / Instagram

Gillezeau beat 10 other contestants to the Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago crown, and also walked away with two additional prizes: Miss Photogenic and Best in Swimsuit. The pharmacist, 25, says her advocacy will be educating children about the benefits of healthy eating.

“Chronic disease continues to be the No 1 cause of death in Trinidad and Tobago with three-fourths of these deaths occurring in persons under the age of 60. The future of our nation is not only in our children's backpacks, but also in their lunch kits,” she wrote on Instagram.

Miss Universe Peru: Camila Escribens

Camila Escribens, Miss Universe Peru 2023. Photo: @missperuofficial / Instagram

Born in Lima, this American-Peruvian model, 24, won the crown after participating in the Miss Peru competition for the third time.

“Never give up, don't stop fighting for your dreams,” she posted on Instagram soon after winning in May.

“One of the greatest gifts I received tonight was the popular vote. The fact that I had so many people accompanying me in my dream was wonderful. I want you to know that I am fully committed and I receive the title with maturity and responsibility.”

Miss Universe Mauritius: Tatiana Beauharnais

Miss Universe Mauritius 2023 Tatiana Beauharnais. Photo: @beauharnaistatianah / Instagram

Beauharnais, 23, is a police constable who grew up Souillac in the south of Mauritius. Passionate about sport and music, she is also a member of professional volleyball team.

“One interesting fact about Tatiana is that she values honesty and positivity and believes in living every day life like it is the last, and treating others as she would like to be treated herself,” reads her bio for Miss Maurice, which selects Mauritius' representative to Miss Universe.

Beauharnais won second place in the Miss Maurice 2022/2023 competition in June last year. But she, and not the main title winner Nilmani Devi Hurlall, has been chosen to represent Mauritius at the Miss Universe pageant. Organisers have not given a reason for the decision.

Miss Universe Kyrgyzstan: Diami Almazbekova

Diami Almazbekova, Miss Universe Kyrgyzstan 2023. Photo: @diami_almazbekova / Instagram

Almazbekova, 20, is a professional model who was crowned Miss Kyrgyzstan 2022 at a glitzy ceremony in Bishkek in October.

Based in Moscow, she will now represent her country at the Miss Universe competition in El Salvador.

Miss Universe Czech Republic: Vanesa Svedova

Vanesa Svedova, Miss Universe Czech Republic 2023. Photo: @vanesasvedova / Instagram

Only 19, Svedova is a student and model who was crowned Ceska Miss Essens 2022 in Prague in December. With the title, she will now represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant.

“I still can’t believe you all really chose me. Thank you to all for the votes, for the SMS, the jury, the audience, the girls, the production for the great care and organisation,” she posted on Instagram soon after her crowning. “Let’s see where this journey takes me. I’m super-excited for it anyway. I am the new Czech Miss Essens. It is an honour.”

Miss Universe Curacao: Kim Rossen

Kim Rossen, Miss Universe Curacao 2023. Photo: @kimrossen25 / Instagram

An athlete and occupational therapist, Rossen, 25, is a resident of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Having won numerous national competitions as a runner, she brought the same competitive spirit to the Miss Universe Curacao pageant and clinched the crown, earning the right to represent her country at the global competition.

She says her favourite quote is: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Miss Universe Croatia: Andrea Erjavec

Andrea Erjavec, Miss Universe Croatia 2023. Photo: @andrea_erjavec / Instagram

Crowned in May in Zagreb, Erjavec, 23 – an advocate for the mental and physical health of children – is currently pursuing a degree in education.

“I promise that I will do my best at the world pageant, and on this occasion I would like to tell all the girls to be persistent, believe in themselves and be aware of their potential because, really, if they want something, they can make it happen,” she posted on Instagram soon after winning the Miss Universe Croatia crown.

Miss Universe Belgium: Emilie Vansteenkiste

Emilie Vansteenkiste, Miss Universe Belgium 2023. Photo: @emilie_vansteenkiste / Instagram

A dancer and occupational therapist who is fluent in both Dutch and French, Vansteenkiste, 21, beat 31 other contestants to the Miss Belgium crown in February.

The national contest faced delays after last year's winner Chayenne van Aarle had a car accident a few days before the final competition. Then, a few hours before the show, authorities arrested an armed man near the venue.

“After an emotional week due to the accident with Chayenne, Miss Belgium 2022, and a horrifying afternoon where an attack has been foiled by the Belgian police, we are proud we could still make a beautiful show (with some delay) with a new Miss Belgium Emilie Vansteenkiste!,” the official Miss Belgium Instagram account posted following Vansteenkiste's crowning.

Miss Universe Kosovo: Arbesa Rrahmani

Arbesa Rrahmani, Miss Universe Kosovo 2023. Photo: @missuniversealbania / Instagram

The model and actress, 21, is from the city of Ferizaj in Kosovo. She was crowned alongside Miss Universe Albania, Endi Demneri, at a pageant in Tirana, the capital of Albania.

Kosovo has been represented at the Miss Universe pageant since 2008, since the country's declaration as an independent state. Rrahmani succeeds last year's title holder Roksana Ibrahimi.

Miss Universe Albania: Endi Demneri

Endi Demneri, Miss Universe Albania 2023. Photo: @missuniversealbania / Instagram

Hailing from Tirana, the capital of Albania, the model, 24, dedicated her win to her late grandparents.

“I strongly believe that beauty isn't just about having a beautiful image, but having a beautiful mind, a beautiful heart, and a beautiful soul,” she shared on Instagram, saying that she participated in the Miss Universe Albania competition because she “saw it as an opportunity to give voice to worthy causes – supporting girls and women”.

“The most beautiful diamonds are created from higher pressure,” she said.

Miss Universe Slovakia: Kinga Puhova

Miss Universe Slovakia 2023 Kinga Puhova. Photo: @kingapuhova / Instagram

A model and fashion student, Puhova, 22, is fluent in Hungarian, French and English.

“I am a maximalist, that means I do everything at 100 per cent and more,” she says on the Miss Slovakia website. “I am also empathetic and experience very intensely everything that happens to other people. I am also creative, I have many ideas and I like to create new ones.”

Puhova is also passionate about sustainable fashion, which she regularly posts about.

“My generation and humanity in general is currently very materialistic and commercial orientated. I want to spread ideas, teach people and talk about sustainable fashion. I want to build my own brand with this philosophy. And of course, with the title of Miss Slovakia 2023, I would definitely be heard.”

Miss Universe Paraguay: Elicena Andrada

Elicena Andrada, Miss Universe Paraguay 2023. Photo: @elicenaandradaorrego / Instagram

This model, 28, is an experienced pageant queen, having participated in a number of beauty contests over the years, including Miss Grand Paraguay 2021. On Sunday, Andrada was one of five winners to be crowned at the Reinas Del Paraguay, including the country's representatives for the Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth pageants.

Hours before her crowning, Andrada took to Instagram to call herself “one of the luckiest people in the world to live my dream”.

“This is a road I have not travelled alone, but with the best of company,” she shared. “Eternally grateful to everyone for the tremendous support and love.”

Miss Universe Cameroon: Ndoun Issie Marie Princesse

Ndoun Issie Marie Princesse, Miss Universe Cameroon 2023. Photo: @princesseissie / Instagram

A management student, 22, who also goes by the name Princesse Issie, she beat 18 other contestants to the Miss Cameroon crown in November.

A passionate breast cancer advocate, she founded her own non-profit, Cameroon Women Action, in 2021, to help spread awareness campaigns, offer free mammograms and provide food donations to the families of patients.

“For me it's a dream come true, I've always dreamt of being Miss Cameroon and I've always waited for the right moment to embark on the great adventure. Today I am very proud of myself and proud of my family,” she said following her crowning.

Miss Universe Angola: Ana Barbara Coimbra

Ana Barbara Coimbra was crowned Miss Universe Angola 2023. Photo: @missangolauniverso / Instagram

Early in July, Ana Barbara Coimbra, a model and economics student, was crowned Miss Angola Diaspora, which elects a representative of Angolan women who reside outside the country. Coimbra, 23, who lives in the UK, earned a chance to participate in Miss Angola Universo, which sends Angola's representative to the Miss Universe. She beat 17 other contestants to the title.

“My primary goal is to serve as a liaison for the most efficient resolution of problems experienced in our country, drawing inspiration from the models already existing in the most developed countries,” she wrote in Portuguese on Instagram, explaining why she participated in the beauty pageant.

Miss Universe Laos: Phaimany Lathsabanthao

Miss Universe 2023 Laos Phaimany Lathsabanthao. Photo: @papao.phaimany / Instagram

A business student and model, Phaimany Lathsabanthao, 28, beat 14 other contestants to the Miss Universe Laos 2023 title. Hailing from the Phongsali province, it was her second participation at the Miss Universe Laos pageant, having placed second at the 2022 contest.

Lathsabanthao has plenty of beauty pageant competitions behind her, and participated in Miss Laos in 2018 and 2021.

“As long as you never give up you will never fail. Believe in yourself and take action. No one else can determine our success but ourselves,” she posted on Instagram ahead of the Miss Universe Laos finals.

Miss Universe Latvia: Kate Alexeeva

Miss Universe Latvia 2023 Kate Alexeeva. Photo: @kate.xeeva / Instagram

This model and entrepreneur is getting a second chance at the Miss Universe crown, after being forced to withdraw from the competition in January when she tested positive for Covid-19.

Alexeeva was crowned Miss Universe Latvia in October 2022 and has now been chosen again to represent the country.

“We are happy to confirm that this year our representative is Kate Alexeeva. She was unable to participate last year due to Covid. She will represent Latvia at the 72nd Miss Universe Competition in El Salvador. Wishing her all of the best luck,” Miss Universe Latvia posted on Instagram.

Miss Universe Saint Lucia: Earlyca Frederick

Miss Universe Saint Lucia 2023 Earlyca Frederick. Photo: @i_am_earlyca / Instagram

A schoolteacher and music educator, Frederick, 25, is has participated in many pageants before, including Miss World Saint Lucia in 2021. But the Miss Universe Saint Lucia competition has proven to be where she's shone the brightest, where she beat seven other contestants, winning the chance to represent her Caribbean island nation at the global pageant.

“Pageantry can really be a beautiful process if you embrace and trust it. My journey as a contender in the Miss Universe Saint Lucia pageant 2023 has been transformative, and fun,” she wrote on Instagram ahead of the finals. “I have grown and learnt so much. Look out universe. I am more than just a pretty face and I’m going to change you by inspiring one individual at a time.”

Miss Universe Norway: Julie Marie Tollefsen

Miss Universe Norway 2023 Julie Marie Tollefsen. Photo: @officialmissnorway / Instagram

A fashion designer, Tollefsen, 27, was born and raised in Oslo. She says she took part in the Miss Norway competition to challenge herself and “prove to everyone that you have to dare to take your place and that everyone has a voice and value regardless of where you come from or what you carry with you”.

“I am proud that I did not stop working towards my dreams, and have proven to myself that you can achieve most things through hard work and dedication,” she wrote in her bio on the Miss Norway website.

Miss Universe Nicaragua: Sheynnis Palacios

Miss Universe Nicaragua 2023 Sheynnis Palacios. Photo: @sheynnispalacios_of / Instagram

A communications graduate and TV presenter, Palacios, 23, beat nine other contestants to the Miss Universe Nicaragua title.

“Today I spoke from the bottom of my heart, from truth and allowed myself to enjoy every moment to remember it for ever,” she said of the Miss Nicaragua competition.

Palacios is an experienced beauty queen, having participated in several contests including Miss World last year where she finished in the top 40.

Miss Universe Honduras: Zuheilyn Clemente

Miss Universe Honduras 2023 Zuheilyn Clemente. Photo: @misshondurasuniverse / Instagram

Clemente, 22, represented the capital city of Tegucigalpa in the Miss Universe Honduras competition where she beat 19 other contestants to the title.

“Today, I am here, full of emotion and gratitude, to thank from the heart to each of the people who supported me in this incredible journey to the crown of Miss Honduras Universe,” she posted on Instagram soon after her win.

“Thank you Honduras for giving me this wonderful opportunity. Let's conquer the universe together.”

Miss Universe Indonesia: Fabienne Groeneveld

Miss Universe Indonesia 2023 Fabienne Groeneveld. Photo: @missuniverse_id / Instagram

Born in the Netherlands, Groeneveld, 23, is a model and business graduate. She beat 29 beauty queens to be crowned Miss Universe Indonesia in a glittering ceremony in Jakarta attended by reigning Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel.

“Dreams do come true,” Groeneveld posted on Instagram after her crowning. “And to those who believed in me and continuously supported me, from the bottom of my heart I thank you.”

Miss Universe Guatemala: Michelle Cohn

Miss Universe Guatemala 2023  Michelle Cohn. Photo: @michellecohnb / Instagram

Cohn, 28, has made history as the first contestant to participate in the long-running beauty contest as a mother. While several countries are yet to announce their representatives for the November finale, Cohn, a mother-of-two, is the first to be named following Miss Universe Organisation's historic rule change to allow married women and mothers to participate.

Cohn, a model and entrepreneur, bested 15 other contestants to the title.

“A little over a year ago I would have thought this was impossible and today I am here looking to be the first mother to represent Guatemala to the universe. Here I am today, once again proving what we as women can accomplish,” she wrote in Spanish on Instagram following her win.

Miss Universe Chile: Celeste Viel

Miss Universe Chile 2023 Celeste Viel. Photo: @celeviel / Instagram

This model and public relations student, 23, has pageantry in her blood – her mother, Paula Maite Caballero Fernandez, was Miss Chile in 1992.

Viel, a resident of Miami, Florida, beat 17 other contestants to the Miss Universe Chile crown. Ahead of her win, she shared on Instagram everything she's learnt competing for the title.

“It has been a great learning experience for me over the past few days,” she shared on Instagram in Spanish. “As my mum always says, 'Enjoy every minute, because the experience itself is already a huge bonus'.”

Miss Universe South Africa: Bryoni Govender

Miss Universe South Africa 2023 representative Bryoni Govender. Photo: @official_misssa/ Instagram

Govender, a law student, first participated in the Miss South Africa pageant in 2018. Not one to give up easily, she gave it another shot this year, coming in second to eventual winner Natasha Joubert.

But in a lucky twist of fate, Govender has now been chosen to represent her country on the Miss Universe 2023 stage as Joubert, who already participated in 2020, will not be allowed to contest again.

When asked why she gave the Miss South Africa pageant another shot, Govender, who is from Durban, told South Africa's Independent Online that it was because she wanted to be a champion for women's empowerment.

“I want to exemplify the notion that empowered women empower women by using my voice and lived experience of never giving up on my dreams and refusing to allow others to narrate my story,” she said.

Among the judges on the panel at the glittery finale in Pretoria was reigning Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel.

Miss Universe Argentina: Yamile Dajud

Miss Universe Argentina 2023 Yamile Dajud. Photo: @missuniversoar / Instagram

Hailing from the province of Rio Negro, Yamile Dajud, 27, is a model and law student who beat 21 contestants to the Miss Universe Argentina crown.

Dajud says she believes her win is a result of divine manifestation.

“Although there were many doubts along the way, I was convinced that God's time had come and that as I have manifested it,” she said on Instagram following her win “Everything responds to a divine and perfect purpose.

“Argentina, I promise to carry your name high and take you to the top of the universe.”

Miss Universe Iceland: Lilja Sif Petursdottir

Miss Universe Iceland 2023 Lilja Sif Petursdottir. Photo: missuniverseiceland / Instagram

Only 19, Petursdottir represented Capital Region at the Miss Universe Iceland pageant held in Reykjavik. The nursing home employee won the crown, beating 15 other contestants at the glitzy ceremony.

Miss Universe Iceland 2022 Hrafnhildur Haraldsdottir was one of the first to congratulate Petursdottir.

“I am so incredibly proud of you dear @liljapetursd you are going to do such amazing things this year! Can’t wait to watch you do amazing throughout this process,” Haraldsdottir wrote in Icelandic on Instagram.

Miss Universe Costa Rica: Lisbeth Valverde

Miss Universe Costa Rica 2023 Lisbeth Valverde. Photo: @misscroficial / Instagram

An entrepreneur, Valverde, 28, was one of nine Miss Costa Rica contestants, where she won the crown and the opportunity to represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant.

Ahead of the finals, Valverde wrote a note to her younger self on Instagram, congratulating herself for how far she's come in life.

“Liz, today with tears in my eyes I tell you that I love you, I admire you and it makes me very happy to make you shine tonight, I know everything you went through to be here and I hug you, I promise to always put you in the place you deserve, fight for every wish to be fulfilled,” she wrote in Spanish.

“The girl who one day saw Miss Costa Rica from a [shanty] house, thinking that it was an unattainable dream, today she's celebrating. Proud of the woman I've become and who, thanks to adversity, today is strong, a fighter, and is going to shine.”

Miss Universe Ukraine: Angelina Usanova

Miss Universe Ukraine 2023 Angelina Usanova. Photo: @missukraine_universe / Instagram

There was no Miss Universe Ukraine ceremony this year, owing to the ongoing conflict in the country. Instead, Usanova was chosen via an online vote.

A singer and songwriter, Usanova, 26, has been performing charity concerts across Europe, helping raise funds for those displaced by Russia's war in Ukraine.

“Angelina writes and performs songs on the themes of peace, ecology and love. Sound is a healer,” Miss Universe Ukraine shared on Instagram. “We hope that with your support, Angelina will be able to represent Ukraine as worthy as possible at the largest beauty contest in the world.”

Miss Universe Canada: Madison Kvaltin

Miss Universe Canada 2023 Madison Kvaltin. Photo: @missuniversecanada / Instagram

An entrepreneur, Kvaltin, 25, first participated in the Miss Universe Canada pageant last year, coming in second place. This year, she beat 57 other contestants to win the crown.

Kvaltin runs her own marketing company as well as Skilla Athletics, a brand that promotes healthy body confidence through movement, inspired by her struggles with an eating disorder when she was younger.

“I’ve always been a woman motivated to help others and develop my philanthropy in body confidence [and] self love over the last decade. Pageantry and winning Miss Universe Canada is more than just a crown and sash for me. A true queen is one before she ever receives the uniform, working to make a true difference in the world,” she posted on Instagram right before her crowning.

Miss Universe Thailand: Anntonia Porsild

Miss Universe Thailand 2023 Anntonia Porsild. Photo: @missuniverse.in.th / Instagram

A model and beauty pageant veteran, Porsild, 26, was crowned Miss Supranational in 2019. Born in India to a Dutch father and Thai mother, she's already a household name in Thailand, having appeared in a number of TV shows. She will now represent Thailand at the Miss Universe pageant in November.

“Still can’t believe this happened. Absolutely surreal,” she posted on Instagram after winning Miss Universe Thailand. “I’m just another girl with a dream and a passion. A girl who dared to dream the unlimited dream and go beyond my boundaries. I hope I can be an example to everyone and a guiding light for you to follow your dreams with courage, strength and passion. The only one that can stop you is yourself.”

Miss Universe Jamaica: Jordanne Lauren Levy

Miss Universe Jamaica 2023 Jordanne Lauren Levy. Photo: @officialmissuniversejamaica / Instagram

A doctor by profession, Levy beat 28 other contestants to the Miss Universe Jamaica crown.

“Your journey exemplifies the perfect blend of beauty and brains, and your victory is a testament to your hard work and perseverance,” the Miss Universe Jamaica organisation posted on Instagram after her win. “May this success be just the beginning of a remarkable journey ahead. Here's to celebrating your triumph and the positive impact you'll undoubtedly make as a role model and representative.”

Miss Universe Aruba: Karol Croes

Miss Universe Aruba 2023 Karol Croes. Photo: @karolcroes / Instagram

A model, entrepreneur and social media marketer, Croes, 27, was an early favourite at the Miss Aruba pageant, winning the Miss Photogenic award before being crowned the eventual winner.

“From day one I envisioned this moment, worked hard for it and believed in myself. I feel honoured to be your Miss Universe Aruba 2023,” she shared on Instagram following her win. “I am super proud to be an ambassador for my beautiful island and to be representing Aruba this year at the Miss Universe competition.

“This journey has been one of self-discovery, personal growth and the belief that anything is possible when you put your heart and soul into it.”

Miss Universe British Virgin Islands: Ashellica Fahie

Miss Universe British Virgin Islands 2023 Ashellica Fahie. Photo: @missuniversebvi / Instagram

A lawyer and business owner, Fahie, 28, says financial literacy and mental health awareness are two things she'd like to use her platform to campaign for.

She also had some words of advice to other aspiring beauty queens.

“Despite the obstacles you will face along the way, continue to show up as your best and authentic self. Believe in God, yourself and always put your best foot forward,” she posted on Instagram following her win. “Remember, it all starts and ends in the mind! Be consistent and never lose sight of the goal, whatever it may be.”

Miss Universe Puerto Rico: Karla Guilfu Acevedo

Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2023 Karla Guilfu Acevedo. Photo: @karlaguilfu / Instagram

Psychology student Acevedo, 24, has been manifesting her big moment for many years. Right after her win, she shared a photo of herself as a little girl, wearing the Miss Universe Puerto Rico sash and crown.

“I've been trying to internalise and absorb everything that has happened these past few days. I feel like I'm living a dream,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I am a woman who, despite the fears, uncertainties and stumbles I may have along the way, started gambling on my dreams. I hope that through my story I can inspire others to fight for theirs with great bravery and courage. I feel confident that what I live is part of God's divine plan for me. I am ready to continue working hard and represent you with dignity in El Salvador.”

Acevedo beat 29 others to the Miss Universe Puerto Rico title. She previously won the title Miss Supranational Puerto Rico in 2020 and competed in Miss Supranational 2021 pageant where she placed second.

Miss Universe Australia: Moraya Wilson

Miss Universe Australia 2023 Moraya Wilson. Photo: @morayawilson / Instagram

A business management student and model currently working as a sports coach in a school, Wilson, beat 23 other contestants to the Miss Universe Australia title. Wilson, 21, is from Melbourne and has competed internationally as a ski racer. She says she decided to enter the Miss Universe Australia competition to advocate for youth mental health.

“I’m so privileged to have had the opportunity to connect with all of you. You are all such incredible, inspiring, hard working women,” she told her fellow contestants following her win. “Thank you Australia, I cannot wait to make you proud,” she added.

Miss Universe Cayman Islands: Ileann Powery

Miss Universe Cayman Islands 2023 Ileann Powery. Photo: @officialmissuniversecayman / Instagram

Powery, 25, is an entrepreneur and professional volley ball player who's travelled around the world to compete in the sport. She's also a member of the Cayman Islands Folk Singers.

She said she participated in the Miss Universe Cayman Islands to challenge herself.

“To anyone who wants to try or do something new, but feels that they lack experience or might fail at it, just do it,” she writes on Instagram. “I am proof that coming into something with little to no experience does not mean that you don't have what it takes.”

Miss Universe Guyana: Lisa Narine

Miss Universe Guyana 2023 Lisa Narine. Photo: @lisa_narine_ / Instagram

A former Miss India Guyana winner, Narine, 26, is a radio host and entrepreneur who's also pursuing a degree in international relations.

“As a little girl I had my heart set on the Miss Universe title and what it means to young women. It is more than just the glitz and glamour but it’s the opportunity to build young leaders and equip them with the ability to strengthen their advocacy and create a platform for self and community growth,” she wrote on Instagram, explaining why she decided to participate in Miss Universe Guyana.

Miss Universe Japan: Rio Miyazaki

Miss Universe Japan 2023 Rio Miyazaki. Photo: @missuniversejapan / Instagram

An early education student, Miyazaki, 20, beat 30 other contestants to the Miss Universe Japan crown and will now represent her country at the global competition in November.

“Five months went by so fast,” she said right after her win. “I still have a long way to go but I'll work hard until the global competition. Thanks for all the support. I'll keep going.”

Miss Universe Kazakhstan: Tomiris Zair

Miss Universe Kazakhstan 2023 Tomiris Zair. Photo: @ss.tomiris_ / Instagram

A modek, Zair recently announced her selection as Kazakhstan's representative at Miss Universe. A former Miss Almaty winner, Zair says she wants to inspire the youth in her country with her journey to the global competition.

“This is an incredible opportunity for me to share the culture, heritage and beauty of our amazing country with the rest of the world. I sincerely hope that my path to this competition will inspire young people in Kazakhstan and prove that dreams can come true with hard work and dedication,” she wrote on Instagram. “With gratitude for your support, I look forward to meeting other contestants and sharing this unique experience on my way to the Miss Universe title. See you in El Salvador this November.”

Miss Universe Malaysia: Serena Lee

Miss Universe Malaysia 2023 Serena Lee. Photo: @serenaa.leee / Instagram

Following the controversy surrounding the Miss Universe Indonesia pageant this year, which led to its eventual cancellation, the future of the Miss Universe Malaysia pageant – which was owned by the same company – looked uncertain for a while. But organisers recently named Serena Lee as this year's representative, without any fanfare.

Lee, 24, is a law student and will now represent Malaysia at the Miss Universe competition.

“I will forever be grateful for this opportunity, and I will do my best to make our country proud,” she shared on Instagram.

Miss Universe Mexico: Melissa Flores

Miss Universe Mexico 2023 Melissa Flores. Photo: @melissafloreg / Instagram

Aged 25, Flores is a model and psychology graduate from the northern state of Michoacan. She's a former beauty queen, having won Miss Earth Mexico in 2018 and placing fourth in the global competition.

“Never allow anyone to limit their dreams. We were born to dream and fight for what we dream. In time, desires become realities, and in these realities lies happiness,” she said on Instagram.

Miss Universe Cambodia: Sotima John

Miss Universe Cambodia 2023 Sotima John. Photo: @sotimajohnn_official / Instagram

John, 23, is a former Miss Universe Cambodia contestant, having competed in 2019 when she came third. This time, the stars have aligned for her as she beat 30 other contestants to the title.

“I am proud to say that I am blessed to be born as a Cambodian woman,” she wrote on Instagram following her win.

Miss Universe Colombia: Camila Avella

Miss Universe Colombia 2023 Camila Avella. Photo: @missuniversecolombiaorg / Instagram

Following Guatemala's Michelle Cohn, Avella, 28, is the second Miss Universe contestant to be crowned who is a mother. She is also the first married Miss Universe Colombia winner.

A model and TV presenter, the mother-of-one represented the Casanare Department at the glitzy pageant held in Barranquilla.

She thanked her hometown for her win soon after her crowning.

“I am thrilled and honoured to have been chosen as Miss Universe Colombia 2023, representing my beloved Casanare,” she wrote on Instagram. “It is a historic achievement for our country, and I am happy to bring the first crown to our department. I want to thank my family, friends, my work team and all the people from Casanare who have supported me on this incredible journey.

“This victory is all of ours. I promise to wear this crown with honour and humility, proudly representing the beauty, strength and talent of Colombia. Casanare, this crown is for you!”

Miss Universe Dominican Republic: Mariana Downing

Miss Universe Dominican Republic 2023 Mariana Downing. Photo: @marianadowningg / Instagram

Born to a British father and Dominican mother, Downing, 27, is a top model working in the US. She is also known for her brief relationship with singer Marc Anthony.

While Downing raised a few eyebrows at the pageant when she chose to answer the interview question in English rather than Dominican Spanish, she also has many supporters who believe she's the best candidate to represent the country.

“A huge thank you to my province, Sanchez Ramirez, my mother's land, that piece of gold bathed by the Yuna River, inhabited by beautiful, hardworking and joyful people,” she wrote in Spanish on Instagram after her win.

Updated: September 15, 2023, 5:27 AM