From tourism to motherhood, here are the stories behind these fan-favorite National Costumes for the 72nd Miss Universe Preliminaries Competition.
The Miss Universe stage has consistently served as a canvas for celebrating culture, artistry, and national pride, and the 72nd edition remained faithful to this legacy. As always, the parade of national costumes proved to be a breathtaking spectacle, exhibiting a kaleidoscope of diverse designs and meanings, with each ensemble authentically representing the heritage and essence of its respective country.
From Michelle Dee’s advocacy promoting the Philippines’ tourism to Angelina Usanova’s heartfelt homage to Ukrainian mothers, the national costumes showcased at the Miss Universe 2023 competition transcend being mere garments—they emerge as eloquent storytellers, narrating the soulful essence of diverse nations. Beyond the glitz and glamour, these costumes encapsulate narratives that beckon audiences to delve deeper into the rich cultural tapestries they represent. Scroll through the stories behind these eight show-stopping national costumes from the 72nd Miss Universe competition.
Michelle Dee | Philippines
It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No. It’s Captain Michelle Marquez Dee coming out and over. Miss Universe Philippines is starting strong in an amazing creation by Michael Barassi. Each thread intricately woven into the ‘solihiya’ pattern—an iconic design synonymous with the tropical essence of the Philippines—flows flawlessly over her body. This ensemble beautifully unfolds the narrative of the islands’ unity and artistry. With the overarching concept of airplanes, it’s evident that the message around promoting tourism to a country we are proud to showcase to the universe is soaring high.
Angelina Usanova | Ukraine
Angelina Usanova embodies the Mother Protector in her Miss Universe national costume. In light of what’s happening around the globe, this attire pays tribute to all Ukrainian mothers: those who protect their children, refugee mothers raising kids alone, and those who have lost children in the current conflicts.
This costume is composed of symbolic elements: blue fabric symbolizes a peaceful sky untouched by missiles, while white and milky hues signify tranquility, mirroring the colors of the Ukrainian flag. Finally, a golden and angelic figure embellishing the attire symbolizes the immeasurable value of every child’s life.
This national costume aims to draw attention to Ukraine’s current situation and underscores the importance for all nations to uphold the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
Jameela Uiras | Namibia
Enraptured by the magnificence of the majestic Diamond Oryx, a definitive symbol of Namibia’s unspoiled splendor and the enduring resilience of its people, Jameela Uiras stands tall on the grand Miss Universe stage. The choice to embody the Diamond Oryx encapsulates more than mere representation; it reflects the spirit of Namibia itself—undaunted and immersed in natural beauty. As Jameela takes her place, adorned in an ensemble inspired by this iconic animal, she not only showcases elegance but also symbolizes the enduring strength and remarkable essence of her nation, resonating with the global audience through a tribute that goes beyond the boundaries of a mere costume.
Maria Brechane | Brazil
In her national costume, Maria Brechane radiated a stunning resemblance to the captivating blue wings of the Mackerel. Representing Brazil, she stands poised and ready to captivate the Miss Universe stage with a colorful and creative ensemble that pays homage to the exuberance of this remarkable Brazilian bird. With the help of Helerson Da Maia, she not only embodies elegance but also showcases the country’s spirit and the splendor of its wildlife.
Melissa Flores | Mexico
Melissa Flores embodies a piece of her country, showcasing Mexico’s colorful culture. Adopting the theme of The Guardian of Alebrije, each stitch in the beautiful creation by Jesus Ramirez represents the enchantment of imagination, breathing life into a character that encapsulates the country’s rich history and contemporary essence. On closer inspection, this costume bursts into life, embodying the mystical heart of Mexican heritage. With a prominent heart at its center bearing the inscription ‘Mexico,’ every detail stands as a testament to her profound love for their culture and country.
Quynh Hoa Bui | Vietnam
The national costume of Quynh Hoa Bui draws inspiration from Mẫu Thượng Thiên, referencing the Mother Goddess of Heaven in Vietnamese culture. Designed by Chu Gallery, this stunning ensemble incorporates the significance of the color red, symbolizing sovereignty and prosperity.
The costume’s focal point lies in its intricately embroidered pattern, showcasing delicate lotus flowers and puffed birds, evoking a sense of beauty, grace, and cultural heritage. These chosen symbols embody not only aesthetic elegance but also carry profound cultural and historical significance, representing Vietnam’s rich traditions and values in the Miss Universe competition.
Sheynnis Palacios | Nicaragua
Sheynnis Palacios is poised to make a striking impression as she unfolds her wings to the wind, embodying the elegance and beauty of el Zanate, adorned in hues of black azabache. Inspired by the bird’s unstoppable movements and melodious singing, Miss Nicaragua’s national costume captures the essence of resilience.
Designed by Jorgito Salazar, this garment features dark tones symbolizing adversity, yet accentuates them with iridescent sparkles, serving as a poignant reminder that amidst challenges, there remains a glimmer of hope—a testament that there is always light at the end of the journey.
Shweta Sharda | India
Shweta Sharda channe;s the essence of contemporary India through her striking national costume, a testament to the woman of today. Crafted by Nidhi Yasha, this ensemble symbolizes India’s resilience and strength amid challenges, depicting a modernized interpretation of the country. The design exudes integrity and fortitude, presented in an armored goddess look.
Notably, the power shoulders and engineered bodice gracefully highlight the duality of a gentle yet robust feminine form. The headgear adorns a lotus halo, symbolizing India’s harmonious blend of diverse religions and cultures, honoring the lotus as the nation’s flower. The lower portion of the attire takes the shape of a majestic golden peacock, the country’s national bird, embellished with exquisite handcrafted peacock feather embroidery, adding a touch of mystique and national pride to the ensemble.