T&T Miss Universe representative did not walk away with the 2023 crown on Saturday night but said she is leaving with memories of a “journey of a lifetime!”
Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios was crowned Miss Universe at the 72nd edition of the competition.
Hours after Faith Gillezeau proudly represented the country at the pageant in El Salvador, she posted on social media that her life had changed and she was looking forward to returning home to the people she had been proud to represent.
“All I have wanted out of being Miss Trinidad and Tobago was to make my country proud and I know that I’ve done my best to do that. I haven’t done it alone and I’d like to thank everyone that made it possible for me to do my best taking my culture and my sweet, sweet Trinidad and Tobago to the Universe!” Gillezeau said.
On the day of the finals, Saturday, she indicated that “whatever the outcome, at whatever point I return home to my country, I’m coming back to the love of everyone I’ve represented here as Miss Universe Trinidad and Tobago. This has been the journey of a lifetime and in all the moments I’ve been tested and pushed, I’ve also been encouraged and transformed. For this opportunity, I remain forever grateful.”
Gillezeau made it to the Top 5 in the National Costume category with a costume on stilts depicting one of T&T’s national birds, the Scarlet Ibis. She said was shocked at her stellar performance on stage, “I can’t stop crying out of amazement. A moko jumbie far away from home on the @missuniverse stage. Can you believe that?”
“Lastly, to the people of my Trinidad and Tobago who have opened their hearts to me and poured out only love and support, thank you. I set out on this journey of a lifetime with only the hope of making you proud,” she added.
Sheynnis Palacios became the first Miss Nicaragua to win the Miss Universe pageant. The first runner-up was Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild, 27 and the second runner-up was Miss Australia Moraya Wilson, 22.
In total 82 delegates from countries around the world vied for the title. Saturday’s competition was filled with history as for the first time the pageant allowed married women and mothers to compete. It also saw two openly trans women, Marina Machete from Portugal and Rikkie Kolle from the Netherlands among the delegates.
T&T’s very own Miss Universe 1977 Janelle “Penny” Commissiong was among the panel of judges.