Watch: Malala receives praise from Miss Universe 2023 runner-up

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In the captivating display of the 72nd Miss Universe beauty pageant, which took place in El Salvador, more than 80 contestants fought for the coveted crown. Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua emerged victorious as Miss Universe 2023, while Anntonia Porsild of Thailand emerged as the first runner-up, and Moraya Wilson of Australia finished as the second runner-up.

The top three competitors were asked to choose another woman they would prefer to spend a year as and why during the last round of questions that decided their rankings.

Miss Thailand replied by expressing her respect for human rights and education activist Malala Yousafzai. She cited Malala as a symbol of bravery and constructive change and commended her battles for women’s rights and education. “I would choose Malala Yousafzai because I am aware of the struggles she had to overcome to get to where she is today,” the 27-year-old declared.

Malala had to fight for women’s education and for the ability of all women to be strong, agents of change, and role models. She would be my choice, if I could choose anyone,” the Thai model continued.

Internet users praised Miss Thailand’s considerate response. In response, Miss Australia went with her mother. She described her mother as a “very strong” woman who instilled in her the virtues of bravery, strength, and hard work.

The ultimate victor, Miss Nicaragua, declared her preference for Mary Wollstonecraft, highlighting the pioneering work of the British philosopher on gender equality and women’s rights. She emphasised the need of gender-neutral pay, arguing that equal pay is necessary to allow women to participate in a variety of sectors without facing discrimination. For women, “there are no limits,” she declared.

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