Sheynnis Palacios, winner of Miss Universe 2023 2:36

(CNN Español) -- The new Miss Universe 2023, Sheynnis Palacios, a native of Nicaragua, is not exempt from women's insecurities and complexes driven, to a large extent, by beauty stereotypes and criticism from society.

In an interview with Telemundo, the model talked about her insecurities and complexes before arriving at the most recognized beauty pageant globally.

When asked about what is said about the contestants having to be perfect, the new beauty queen confessed that one of her great complexes was her skin color, but clarified that she is now very proud of it.

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"Another thing that made me very complex for a long time was my skin color, which I love now. I love it because there were a lot of girls at school who were lighter than me. So I said: why don't they get together with me? Because I have my skin color like that," Palacios said.

However, she said that everything changed when she found a best friend who loved her just the way she is, regardless of skin color, and when she herself stopped worrying about her skin color.


Sheynnis Palacios, Miss Nicaragua, is the winner of Miss Universe 2023. (Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

On top of that, Palacios commented that her height and the stretch marks on her body were other factors that made her self-conscious. "In my country it's not normal for me to be 1.77 or 1.80 cm tall, as it's considered quite a large height. So it was typical for them to say to me, 'Oh, what's the air up there,'" he described.

"I'm going to admit that at some point when I started to get stretch marks on my body it was like no, I want to have perfect skin, but the skin takes a back seat," the model detailed.

Sheynnis Palacios, who has a degree in Social Communication from the Central American University, reflected on the issue and concluded that "we are perfectly imperfect. That's also what makes life beautiful, with ups and downs and when it's something flat it becomes totally monotonous and doesn't really make sense."

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The Nicaraguan also thanked the stereotypes that the Miss Universe Organization has erased from the pageant, such as the fact of being able to wear flat shoes and not having to look impeccable at all times. She said that what really matters is what is in the heart and what the participants have to offer people.

Palacios, who is a mental health activist, has the "Understand Your Mind" initiative, a platform on which he interviewed specialists. In the interview with Telemundo, he invited people to be aware of his project, because, as he said, it is still a very stigmatized issue and he wants to break that barrier.

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