The 2023 Miss Universe pageant will take place tonight in El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador. (It will air in the United States from 8 p.m. ET on the Roku Channel.) Eighty-four contestants — each representing their home countries — will be in contention, but most only briefly: at the beginning of the competition, the field will be narrowed to 20 semi-finalists, selected based on their performance in the pageant’s preliminary stage and, in one case, a global fan vote.
As the night progresses, the field will be further winnowed; by the time the pageant’s evening gown round plays out, only 10 contestants will still be in the running for the Miss Universe title (and tiara, of course). While it is tradition for the eliminated beauty queens to walk the stage, en masse, to show off their looks at this point, it’s usually just a brief — and tightly-choreographed — glimpse at all the sequins, corsetry and fishtail trains.
All that fashion finery is not lost entirely in the blink of an eye, however: each contestant had their runway moment during the aforementioned preliminary proceedings. In the gallery above, see some of the sartorial highlights.
Those competing at the pageant include two transgender women, Rikkie Kollé of the Netherlands and Marina Machete of Portugal, as well as two married women, Camila Avella of Colombia and Michelle Cohn of Guatemala. Nepal’s Jane Garrett, who has competed in the preliminary rounds to much applause from the audience, is also breaking boundaries as the first plus-size model in contention.
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant also marks longtime Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart’s last year. After 23 years in the role, Shugart announced on Thursday that she was stepping down, a decision she said had been “been months in the making, and not in a response to recent events.” Last week, the pageant’s owners, JKN Global Group, filed for bankruptcy — or “business rehabilitation” — in Thailand, though said the move would not affect this year’s pageant or organization moving forward.
I have always passionately believed Miss Universe is not about any one woman, it’s about community,” Shugart said in her resignation speech. “Our community: the passionate fans, the titleholders, the national directors who have remained dedicated to this brand through thick and thin.
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