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Meet Mary Wollstonecraft, Malala Yousafzai—the women who inspired the Miss Universe 2023 finalists

By Harold Lemon Tubiano Published Nov 19, 2023 3:32 pm

Miss Universe has finally crowned the next queen who will represent the brand for an empowering and "force for good" initiative. 

Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua emerged victorious alongside Antonia Porsild of Thailand and Moraya Wilson of Australia who ended up as first and second runners-up, respectively, in its 72nd edition held in El Salvador on Nov. 19, Sunday. 

During the final round of the competition, the remaining queens were put into the limelight and were all asked: "If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?"

Newly-crowned Sheynnis impressed the jury with her winning answer, mentioning Mary Wollstonecraft as her inspiration. 

Mary was a renowned English writer and women’s rights activist. Born in 1959, she authored the book entitled A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) which outlined her feminist view and was regarded as the foundation of modern rights for women in the Western world. She posed the idea that if girls were given the same educational opportunities as boys, they would be able to reach their full potential and contribute to society in many ways.

Explaining her answer, Palacios said: "I would choose Mary Wollstonecraft because she opened the gap in paving opportunity to many women and what I would do. I would want that gap, that income gap, would open up so that women could work in any area that they choose to work in because there are no limitations for women. That was 1750, now in 2023, we’re making history," she said. 

Thai titlist Antonia meanwhile, mentioned Pakistani Malala Yousafzai in the final statement as her inspirational modern woman.

She said: "I would choose Malala Yousafzai because I know the struggles she had to deal with in order to get where she is today. She has to fight for women’s education and fight for all women to be able to stand strong and be the change and lead by example. If I could choose anyone that would be her."

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Malala is a female activist for education and the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the early age of 17. Born in Pakistan in 1997, she became a global icon of the movement for women's education after she was shot in 2012 for opposing the terrorist group Taliban on their educational restriction for women in her home country. Two years later, she founded the Malala Fund, an organization that helps girls get access to education. 

Miss Australia on the other hand, drew inspiration from her mother that made her place in the third spot. 

"I would live my mother’s year, in her birth year. Because she is a very strong woman; she’s tough, she taught me how to work hard, she taught me how to be brave, how to be strong, and I’m forever grateful for those lessons that she taught me."

The coronation night will have same-day replays at 9:30 PM on A2Z, Kapamilya Channel via Sunday’s Best, Metro Channel and iWantTFC. Metro Channel will air more replays later in the week.

The 73rd Miss Universe will be held in Mexico next year.