Miss Spain Wins Miss Congeniality at Miss Universe 2023: A Closer Look at Her Swimwear, Evening Gown, National Costume and Opening Dress
During the 2023 Miss Universe competition held in Sal Salvador, El Salvador, Athenea Paulinha Pérez from Spain earned the title of Miss Congeniality on Saturday.
The award was given to the model by popular vote from the other competitors for being a source of kindness, positivity, and enthusiasm. During the event, Pérez commented on her fear of forgetting the competitive aspect of the event as she was so occupied with socializing and befriending others. The hosts, Zuri Hall and Catriona Gray, shared these remarks with the audience.
Pérez is receiving praise not solely for her role as an advocate of sisterhood. She has achieved a historic accomplishment as the initial woman from a minority background to be crowned Miss Spain.
During an interview, Pérez expressed her belief that diversity is the way forward and stated that she is proof of this. She is currently working with kids' villages that are home to immigrant moms and families headed by single parents. She shared that her own upbringing was under the care of a single mom who was a black immigrant. Pérez believes that her personal journey can be motivational for others. She emphasized that diversity is a present reality that should be acknowledged and celebrated.
Pérez was one of the top 10 finalists and she displayed various outfits. She honored the customs of Spain by wearing a flamenco-style dress from Siempreviva with impressive ruffles encompassing the train and wrists. For the evening gown portion, she selected a stunning gold dress covered in sequins and big cutouts.
During the swimsuit section, she opted for a bikini created by Rubin Singer, who works alongside the Miss Universe group for their primary merchandise line. She wore a one-shouldered blue cocktail dress from Clarisse Designs for the opening performance, which was also used by all other contestants, and Jojo Bragais was in charge of the footwear.
The Miss Universe pageant in 2023 was the most inclusive and diverse in the history of the competition, which has been running for 72 years. Up to that point, there were rules prohibiting certain ages and marital statuses, but those restrictions were lifted. Spain's first delegate who was a person of color participated in the event. The competition saw the debut of two transgender beauty queens representing their countries - Miss Portugal Marina Machete and Miss Netherlands Rikkie Kollé. It was only in 2018 that Miss Spain Ángela Ponce became the first transgender woman to participate in the contest after a rule change made five years previously. Miss Guatemala Michelle Cohn and Miss Colombia Camila Avella made history as the first currently married competitors. Miss Nepal Jane Dipika Garrett stood out for being the first plus size delegate in the pageant. And Miss Pakistan Erica Robin broke barriers by being the first contestant to strut her stuff in a burkini during the swimsuit round.
The beauty competition's recent upgrade started in the previous year when a businesswoman named Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, who is transgender, bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million. She pledged that she would lead the pageant with a vision for change and to improve its long-established legacy.
Sheynnis Palacios, who represented Nicaragua, emerged victorious as the new Miss Universe for 2023. Miss Australia's Moraya Wilson followed as the first runner up, while Miss Thailand's Anntonia Porsild also made it to the top three finalists. The outgoing Miss Universe for 2022, R'Bonney Gabriel from the United States, graced the coronation and presented Palacios with a tiara designed by Mouawad, which has been the official jewelry partner of the Miss Universe Organization since 2019.