Beauty in the Inclusivity: Introducing the diverse Queens in the Miss Universe Pageant

By: Regina Guinto
November 20, 2023

The Miss Universe 2023 Pageant introduces mothers and a transgender for the first time. Photos courtesy of WWD.

The most beautiful time of the year has come again as the Miss Universe takes place at the Adolfo Pineda National Gymnasium in El Salvador on Sunday, November 19, 2023, Philippine time. 

The pageant is known to champion diversity not only in race, but also in body sizes, gender expression, and motherhood. Back in 2021, the pageant competition revised its rules in only allowing “naturally born females”, which allowed transwomen to participate in Miss Universe. Last year, the organization also announced that starting from 2023, the competition will now accept wives and mothers, changing the previous rule of only single unwed women being allowed to compete.

Nepal’s Jane Dipika Garrett initially made headlines as a plus-size model, defying the stereotypes of accepted body shapes in the competition, which earned her recognition and criticism from people. However, she stood with grace and poise. She aims to encourage women to be proud of their skin and to challenge the beauty standards of the world towards plus-size women.

Michelle Cohn became the first in Guatemala to represent the country in the Miss Universe while being a mother. She is an icon of the importance of how essential it is for women to compete as a mother as it represents another milestone for women, and that motherhood is not a limitation, but rather an inspiration.

Following Spain’s Ponce in 2018, two trans queens entered the competition. Rikkie Valerie Kollé from the Netherlands and Mariana Machete from Portugal. Both are the first trans women to win the title in their respective countries. Kollé stated that she wished to be a role model for young women and gay people and that she had personally suffered after coming out as transgender. 

Through thorough and rigorous hours of catwalks and Q&As, Miss Nicaragua took the Miss Universe crown for this year, marking her victory as the first time the country has won the title. Meanwhile, the Philippines’ Michelle Dee only finished the competition in the Top 10.