Miss Planet Philippines Maria Luisa Varela was crowned Miss Planet International 2023 on Sunday, January 29, 2023 which was held at Koh Pich Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The 26-year-old entrepreneur who also bagged the Social Media award became the first Filipina and Asian representative to win the international pageant. She succeeded the first winner from 2019 edition, Miss Planet International 2019 Monique Best of South Africa.
Miss Planet International pursues the fulfillment of the United Nations‘ sustainable development goals. The competition’s core values are ending war and violence while promoting peace; embracing multiculturalism; promoting education; ending poverty and promoting ethical economic progress; and supporting clean renewable energy.
Jemima Ruth Mandemwa of Zimbabwe and Ono Aya of Japan were named the first and second runners-up respectively. Rounding out the Top 7 were Tiffany Ha of Vietnam, Katarina Juselius of Finland, Alina Safronova of Latvia, and Srey Leak Pok of Cambodia.
Final Question: What she would like to add to the existing sustainable goals of the 2023 agenda by the United Nations?
If I had the chance to add one more goal, that would be promoting education using social media as a key platform. We all know that social media plays an important role in our daily lives. But we are using this for our monetary advances, entertainment. So, as an advocate of youth empowerment, I [want to] use this platform to promote the importance education. I [want to] use this tool to encourage, to promote, and to develop awareness towards a responsible and productive citizen of our sustainable planet.
This year’s edition was supposed to be held last November in Uganda but due to some controversial incidents with the host organizers, several contestants backed out and the pageant was canceled. The original representative from the Philippines was Binibining Pilipinas 2022 first runner-up Herlene Nicole Budol. Meet the new Miss Planet International!
Photos by Thai Sashes
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