Australia takes Bronze at Miss Universe 2023
Moraya Wilson, a 24-year-old model from Sydney, made Australia proud by finishing third in the Miss Universe 2023 competition, held in El Salvador over the weekend. Wilson dazzled the judges and the audience with her stunning floral national costume, designed by Emma Daley, which featured native wildflowers from each state and territory of Australia.
The coveted crown went to Sheynnis Palacios, a 22-year-old law student from Nicaragua, who impressed with her intelligence, charisma and beauty. Palacios is the first Nicaraguan to win the Miss Universe title, and she dedicated her victory to her country and her people.
The runner-up was Anntonia Porsild, a 25-year-old entrepreneur and social activist from Thailand, who showcased her culture and heritage with a dazzling gold and red costume inspired by the Thai goddess of lightning.
The grand finale of the Miss Universe 2023 competition was a spectacular show, featuring a live performance by Grammy-winning singer John Legend, who sang his hit songs “All of Me” and “Wild” for the contestants and the viewers.
The Miss Universe competition, which started in 1952, is one of the most prestigious and popular beauty pageants in the world, with millions of fans and followers. The competition aims to celebrate the diversity, talent and empowerment of women from different countries and cultures.
This year, the competition made history by having two transgender contestants, Marina Machete from Portugal and Rikkie Valerie Kollé from the Netherlands, who competed alongside 74 other women for the crown. The Miss Universe Organization changed its rules in 2013 to allow transgender women to participate, and the first transgender contestant was Angela Ponce from Spain in 2018.
The Miss Universe Organization is owned by JKN Global Group Public Co. Ltd, a Thai company led by Chakrapong “Anne” Chakrajutathib, a transgender businesswoman and activist. Chakrajutathib said she wanted to use the Miss Universe platform to inspire and empower women like her.
Another contestant who broke the stereotypes of beauty pageants was Jane Garret, a body positivity activist from Nepal, who wore a size 16 dress and flaunted her curves with confidence. Garret said she was proud to represent “real size beauty” around the world and to challenge the norms of the industry.
One of the highlights of the Miss Universe competition was the National Costume Show, which took place a few days before the finale. The contestants wore elaborate and creative outfits that represented their countries’ culture, history and identity. Some of the most memorable costumes were a giant cactus from Mexico, a peacock from India, a dragon from China, a mermaid from the Philippines, and a kangaroo from Australia.
Wilson, who wore a dress adorned with feathers and sequins, said her costume was a tribute to Australia’s unique and incredible native wildflowers, which have cultural, historical and spiritual significance. She said she wanted to share the beauty and diversity of Australia with the world.
Wilson, who has a degree in psychology and works as a mental health advocate, said she was honoured and grateful to represent Australia at the Miss Universe competition. She said she learned a lot from the experience and made many friends from different countries. She also thanked her family, friends and fans for their support and love.
Wilson said she hopes to use her platform as Miss Universe Australia to raise awareness and funds for mental health issues, especially among young people. She said she wants to inspire others to follow their dreams and to be themselves.