Miss Universe 2023 to be crowned in November in El Salvador

Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel, the reigning champion, will pass on the baton at the long-running event

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Beauty pageant fans can mark their diaries.

Organisers of the 72nd Miss Universe have announced this year's winner will be crowned on November 18 in El Salvador.

The annual beauty contest is one of the oldest and most-watched shows in the world. The November finale will be preceded by weeks of preliminary competitions and events.

Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel won the 2022 crown in January in New Orleans, Louisiana, after last year's pageant was postponed to avoid clashing with the Fifa Qatar World Cup in November.

Gabriel, a Filipina-American, beat 84 other contestants to the title at the glitzy event where the next host country, El Salvador, was also announced.

"El Salvador is a country that is full of beauty," said the country's president Nayib Bukele in a recorded video played at the event. "We have the best surfing beaches in the world, magnificent volcanoes, exquisite coffee, and we have now become the safest country in Latin America.

"I would like to thank the Miss Universe Organisation for joining us in this historic process. El Salvador is changing, and we want you to come and see it for yourselves."

Officially known as the Republic of El Salvador, the Central American country shares borders with Honduras and Guatemala.

It last hosted the pageant in 1975, in San Salvador, when Miss Finland took the crown.

More than 90 countries are set to be represented at the November event, including, for the first time, Pakistan.

Representatives from several countries, such as Egypt and Bangladesh, are also expected to make their return after years of absence.

Dubai company Yugen Group, which selects Miss Universe Bahrain, owns the franchise rights for Miss Universe Pakistan as well as Miss Universe Egypt.

The 72nd Miss Universe contest will be historic in more ways than one.

It will be the first event to be held after Thai media company, JKN Global Group, acquired the brand from IMG. It will also mark the first contest under a major new selection process allowing married women and mums to compete.

Previously, only single women, aged between 18 and 28, who have never been married or had children, were allowed to apply.

Miss Universe is hosted by a different country every year. The US has held the pageant more than any other nation, but other host countries have included Thailand, the Philippines, Russia, Vietnam, Greece, Cyprus, South Korea and Singapore, to name a few.

In 2021, when India's Harnaaz Sandhu came in first, it was held in Israel for the first time.

Updated: July 28, 2023, 6:08 AM