Well tried Brooke Jackson . . . Miss Universe 2023 crowned Miss Universe Zim 2023 Brooke Bruk Jackson (left) in green dress joins other models in congratulating Miss Universe 2023 winner Sheynnis Palacious

Tafadzwa Zimoyo Entertainment Editor

It is what it is.

Well, tried Brooke Bruk Jackson for representing the country at the just-ended Miss Universe pageant held in El Salvador last Saturday.

Of course, she didn’t make it to the top 20 as hoped by many but just being on that global stage was a mammoth task for the 21-year-old who fought against all odds.

Remember many fans did not like her back home.

For the record, she is Zimbabwean by birth.

When she was on a global stage, the tables turned as she was now the darling of the country.

Everyone was now rallying behind her, sharing her pictures on social media, urging and encouraging each other to vote for her.

All that said and done, what she can be remembered for is that in 2023, at the pageant, Brooke Bruk made it to the Miss Universe 2023 Voice For Change Silver Finalists, top 10.

The Voice For Change Silver Finalist was about representing a global shifting tapestry of voices committed to making a difference.

She was selected together with Angola, Brazil, Chile, Lebanon, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa and Ukraine.

The finalists captured the audience’s attention and demonstrated a passion for positive change through their impactful advocacy videos.

The competition went beyond traditional beauty pageant norms, allowing viewers to play an active role in shaping the outcome.

However, the Voice for Change competition was won by Phillipines.

Earlier, Brooke Bruk thanked everyone who had supported and voted for her.

“Thank you to everyone for all your messages, support and love. I see you. It feels like a dream being at Miss Universe and I can’t be more honoured and proud to be wearing a gem of a country across my heart, carrying with it the hopes and dreams of many,” she said.

“This experience fills me with so much gratitude, and I am committed to upholding the values and spirit of my nation to the best of my ability.”

“Every step I took in this competition is a tribute to the strength, resilience, and beauty of my homeland. I carry the name of my country with pride, and it is a privilege I will always cherish,” explained Brooke.

Now the world has a new queen, Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua who was crowned Miss Universe 2023 at the finale of the pageant held at the José Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador.

The 23-year-old beauty queen made history as this was the first time Nicaragua won the pageant.

She was crowned by Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel.

Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild was the first runner-up, while Miss Australia Moraya Wilson came second. However, the 72nd Miss Universe pageant is officially over, marking the end of an extraordinary spectacle that captivated audiences worldwide. The highly anticipated event in El Salvador was graced by 84 equally beautiful women from all over the world.

A lot is being said about the pageant and like the norm, everyone had their favourite but it was up to the judges to pick the final winner.

A look at the interview questions for the three finalists proved that they were not only beautiful but upstairs they had what it takes to change the world, given a chance.

The newly crowned queen was asked if ever she could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who it would be, and why.

The queen chose British writer and advocate Mary Wollstonecraft.

She 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.”

Powerful.

Again, this year’s pageant was truly evidence of that “new era,” as it changed the perception of women, changing the norm.

It is said that last year, Anne Jakrajutatip, the owner of the Miss Universe Organisation called the Miss Universe a “new era of the global women’s empowerment platform” that is going to be “run by women, for all women around the world.” Jakrajutatip said that it builds interest in pageant fans to see how the following editions of the prestigious beauty contest will change in this “new era” back then.

Miss Columbia, María Camila Avella Montañez, and Guatemala’s Michelle Cohn were the first mothers and married women to compete in this year’s pageant. Surprisingly Columbia made it to the Top 5. Also, plus-size women were represented as Jane Garrett of Nepal, defied beauty standards as the first plus-size candidate who able to enter the first cut of the pageant.

Moreover, Miss Universe also welcomed Miss Universe Pakistan 2023 Erica Robin as the first-ever winner to wear a blush-coloured bikini in the swimsuit competition.

On the low side, research has proved that “all that glitters is not gold,’ in the pageantry world.

It is not only in Zimbabwe, South Africa, or Germany among others where beauty pageants are plagued by controversies. Even on a global stage, Miss Universe had also something to talk about. Information online states that, it is believed, the Miss Universe Organisation cut ties with its franchise in Indonesia — PT Capella Swastika Karya, and its national director, Poppy Capella — days after several contestants alleged they had been sexually abused in the run-up to the competition’s crowning ceremony in Jakarta.

“In light of what we have learned from Miss Universe Indonesia, it has become clear that this franchise has not lived up to our brand standards, ethics or expectations,” the Miss Universe Organisation posted on social media.

Then in November, Miss Universe’s Thai owner JKN Global Group filed for bankruptcy in its country, but promised the organisation “can continue its operation while being under the rehabilitation plan.”

Should we hurriedly say that Miss Universe Organisation president, Paula Shugart, was affected by all this?

Shugart who has served as the organisation’s president since 2001, broke the news to the audience at the preliminary competition of the pageant, that it was her last time on stage as the president.

“Saturday will be a celebration and a culmination of this partnership and it does not get any better than this. And I can’t think of no better place than in this beautiful country, on this magnificent stage to announce the end of my tenure as the president of Miss Universe,” she said.

“I have decided that this Saturday would be my last show. And to be clear, this decision has been months in the making and is not a response to recent events,” she said.

This shocked many with some close sources revealing that she was alluding to the news about Miss Universe owner JKN Global Group filing for bankruptcy in Thailand.

“I stayed because I believed in El Salvador and my love for the Miss Universe brand. I have always passionately believed Miss Universe is not about any one woman. It’s about community, our community.

It’s about the passionate fans, the titleholders, the national directors who have remained dedicated to this brand through thick and thin,” she added.

The show which was streamed live on various platforms and YouTube also saw American singer John Legend playing for the top 10.

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