Miss Universe 2023 was host to several firsts this year, ranging from plus size participants to mothers to trans women. Even this year's winner, Miss Nicaragua, broke records with her winning debut.
As a contest of good looks, grace, and resilience, the Miss Universe Pageant is known for showcasing the disciplined and perfected notion of beauty, both external and internal. However, that comes along with a West-centric notion of appealing appearance that is restrictive and outdated.
Thanks to the recent acquisition of the organization by transgender entrepreneur Anne Jakrajutatip in 2022, the pageant has loosened its rigorous constraints and welcomed inclusivity and celebration of beautiful women from various walks of life, who are not afraid to own their truth and do good in the world.
Mothers were included in the pageant this year, for the first time. Contestants, Miss Guatemala, Michelle Cohn, and Miss Colombia, Camila Avella broke all records this year. The latter broke an extra set of records, being both a married woman as well as the first mother to reach Miss Universe 2023’s Top 5.
In an age of insufficient or excessive sensitivity, body shaming has been a rampant issue. But Miss Universe seems to have let those eras be bygone, by introducing Miss Nepal, Jane Dipika Garrett, as a prestigious contestant of its 2023 edition. The beauty queen rocked the ramp in the swim wear round by confidently walking down the ramp in a gorgeous metallic silver one-piece, that accentuated her curves.
Records were also broken for the second time this year, by virtue of its brave and beautiful participants. This year, the universal beauty contest saw two transwomen participants, Miss Portugal, Marina Machete, and Miss Netherlands, Rikkie Kolle.
Both the beauties broke their respective set of additional records as well. While Marina Machete was the first transwoman ever to receive a position, Rikkie Kolle is the first transwoman to represent her country in the prestigious pageant.
Though the crown may have been won by Miss Nicaragua (Sheynnis Palacios), for the first time, a record in itself, the other participants were not lacking in any manner. Representation and inclusivity are the first steps of humanity in the attainment of actual beauty, not the idealized one. It seems pageants are finally rethinking their beauty standards to include different types, races, body types of women, as there is no one perfect, fit-all mold for beauty.