The 23-year-old communicologist Palacios stated that she wants to work to promote mental health because she has experienced crippling episodes of anxiety.
First runner-up was Miss Thailand, Anntonia Porsild, and second runner-up was Miss Australia, Moraya Wilson.
In the 72nd iteration of the competition, 84 ladies vyed for the title.
When asked which woman’s shoes she would most like to spend a year in, Palacios looked to be the clear winner when she said with confidence that she would choose the 18th-century English writer and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft. As a supporter of women’s rights, Wollstonecraft is credited as one of the founding figures of feminism.
Palacios said she wants to work to close the salary gap between the genders so that women can work in any area.
Miss Universe was last held in El Salvador in 1975. This year’s event was another opportunity for President Nayib Bukele to tout changes made under his administration, especially greatly improving the country’s safety.
“El Salvador has changed for good and we have shown it again,” Bukele said Saturday night. “Miss Universe has given us the opportunity to show the world what we are capable of. Thank you for choosing to be part of El Salvador’s rebirth.”
Bukele is running for reelection despite constitutional term limits and is widely popular for his crackdown on the country’s gangs. But he has faced international criticism for eroding checks and balances on his power and not respecting human rights.
More than 72,000 people have been arrested without due process since a state of emergency was declared in March 2022 in response to a surge in gang violence. The special powers it granted Bukele remain in place.