Athenea Pérez is celebrating a special honor at this year’s Miss Universe pageant.
While she didn’t claim the title, the 27-year-old Spanish model and beauty pageant titleholder was named the 2023 Miss Congeniality.
In remarks shared by hosts Zuri Hall and Catriona Gray, Pérez said that “her biggest fear this week was forgetting this was a competition because she was so busy socializing and making friends.”
As the delegate of Spain to the Miss Universe pageant, Pérez became the first woman of black descent to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant.
“I believe that diversity is the future and I’m an example of it,” Pérez said in an interview segment. “Currently, I’m collaborating with children’s villages with immigrant mothers and single-parent households because I was raised by a single mother who is an immigrant and black woman.” She continued, “I know that my story can help to inspire other people. Diversity is here, and diversity is now — it’s today.”
She finished as one of the Top 10 finalists in the pageant.