The conclusion of the 2023 Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador, won by Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios a week ago, was a good news, bad news situation for Mexico.
The good news: In the closing minutes, the presenters mentioned that Mexico will be hosting the next pageant in 2024. Mexico also hosted in 1978, 1989, 1993 and 2007.
The bad news: Mexican contestant Melissa Flores from Venustiano Carranza, Michoacán did not win and wasn’t even among the 10 finalists. .
Miss Mexico’s costume saga
After the pageant ended on Nov. 18, a rumor started that the elaborate garment Flores wore during the costume competition was stolen from backstage.
Estimated to be worth about 1 million pesos (US $58,000), the colorful piece combines owl and winged-deer alebrije motifs, representing wisdom and focus, with intricate Huichol-inspired beadwork.
It was created by designer Ángel Rámez from Guadalajara and 13 other artisans, and took four months to complete.
Flores lamented its loss in an emotional Instagram post, and authorities in San Salvador reportedly opened an investigation.
However, in an interview with the newspaper El Universal published Wednesday, Flores clarified that the garment was returned to its designer, who will present it in an exhibition/contest on Thursday.
“It’s fake news,” Flores, 25, was quoted as saying. “No one has stolen it. I don’t have the slightest idea where the rumor came from. … It was put in the suitcase and given to the designer.”
Flores, who has a degree in psychology, gives talks to prevent violence in teenage dating and is studying acting. She is also a model and tourism promoter.
Miss Universe 2024 in Mexico
Next year’s Miss Universe pageant will be held in Mexico for the fifth time in 73 years. No site has been announced, but Miss Universe CEO Amy Emmerich said Cancún is being discussed. The start date has been announced as Sept. 28.
Rules modifications in recent years allow competitors to be transgender women, mothers and/or wives. In El Salvador, Miss Netherlands and Miss Portugal became the second and third trans women to participate, and Miss Nepal received ovations as the first plus-size woman to compete.
“Whatever happened before is not what we are experiencing right now,” Mexican Miss Universe CEO Cynthia de la Vega said on the “De Primera Mano” TV show. “I think that all people are very happy because this range of options has opened up. Beauty now has no limits and we want everyone to be part of it.”
An additional rule change for 2024 will be the elimination of the upper age limit of 28, a regulation since the pageant began in 1952.