On Sunday, November 19, the whole world stayed up to watch the 72nd Miss Universe finale, which took place at San Salvador, El Salvador.
Hosted by Olivia Culpo, Maria Menounos and Jeannie Mai Jenkins, this year’s pageant saw 84 women from different countries compete for the crown, and South Africa’s Bryoni Govender was one of them.
Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe 2023 and former title holder R’Bonney Gabriel gracefully handed over the reins.
Anntonia Porsild of Thailand was placed as first runner-up, with the second runner-up being Moraya Wilson of Australia.
Palacios, a 23-year-old mental health activist and audiovisual producer, made history as she became her country’s first Miss Universe.
Through her mental health project “Understand Your Mind”, Palacios interviews specialists to help educate people about mental health.
While others think that she didn’t deserve to win because she didn’t speak English and used a translator, many are proud of her historic achievement.
“Congratulations to Nicaragua. She absolutely deserves it. She had the best answer in the top three, and I was afraid she might not win because her interpreter didn’t do such a great job.
“Seriously, Spanish is a very common language, so why does Miss Universe always find it difficult to get the right translator who can translate from Spanish to English fluently?
“Most times, the translators ruin the women’s chances of winning because they fail to convey the message exactly the way it was spoken,” commented @diaryofanaijaboyy.
Another viewer @salvadorio_pinto, said: “I’m from France, and my country hasn’t even made a top 20 and yet I’m not a bad loser! I’m very, very happy for Nicaragua, who has just won her first Miss Universe crown, it’s historic!
“Think of happiness, let’s not divide ourselves in the world, let’s be happy for her and send her lots of positivity for her rule as Miss Universe. She worked hard to achieve this goal, she deserves her crown!
“Don’t attack other countries and for once, let’s be united and be happy that one of our neighbours is crowned! Congratulations, Nicaragua, I’m happy and very proud of you!”
Speaking of which, our very own Govender may have not won, but she made it to the top 20. She is grateful to have represented South Africa on such a big platform and congratulated the new Miss Universe.
“I would like to congratulate Sheynnis and wish her well throughout her reign. It was an honour sharing the Miss Universe stage with her as well as all the competitors who were inspiring.
“I hope that, even though I didn’t get a placing, I did South Africa proud. It is an experience that I will never forget,” said Govender.