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Marina Machetti and 83 others compete today for Miss Universe 2023. See photos from the national costume competition here

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Portuguese Marina Machetti is one of the national title holders in the competition, which this year includes the first married female contestants (after changing the rules) and two transgender women representing the Netherlands and Portugal.

What do dictionaries, fighter planes, plane trees, and the Swiss Guard have in common? It’s a serious question, but with a delightfully nonsensical answer: They all served as inspiration for the national costumes displayed during the Miss Universe 2023 preliminary competition. (Specifically, these were Look Worn by Miss Great Britain, Miss Philippines, Miss Dominican Republic, and yes, Miss Switzerland).

84 countries are participating in this year’s edition of the Miss Universe competition, which is being held in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. The national title holders include the first married competitors, following a change in eligibility requirements enacted this year, and two transgender women, representing the Netherlands and Portugal.

Miss Nepal, Jane Garrett, is one of the first “curvy” women to compete in Miss Universe; Erica Rubin, in turn, is the first woman to represent Pakistan in the competition.

Preliminary competition for the pageant began on Wednesday, with contestants already taking part in training days, as well as photo shoots, charity events and trips. However, the main event will take place on Saturday evening, where the winner of best national costume will be announced, as well as the new Miss Universe, who will replace the current queen, Reboni Gabrielle, from the USA.

See some of the nominees — and their outfits — below.

Miss Ecuador’s costume was a tribute to the Ecuadorian railway system. Miss Ecuador’s costume was a tribute to the Ecuadorian railway system and included a smokestack that produced steam, a light-up hat, and a train designed to resemble the tracks. everything is ready!

The inspiration for Miss Denmark’s costume? Vikings, if you can believe it. Press comments on his appearance said that he represented the legendary ocean dragon and the enduring spirit of Viking sailors. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Three blue macaws on the shoulders of Miss Brazil, whose costume sought to highlight that the species is endangered. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Although not an example of a pageant dress, Miss Great Britain’s national costume was all about the English language – the Oxford English Dictionary, specifically. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss El Salvador’s volcanic dress was unveiled to rapturous applause — both as a hometown hero and because her costume lit up to represent an explosion of hot lava. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

No volcanoes for Miss Iceland, who praised the midnight sun phenomenon that allows the country to remain 24/7 during the summer months. Alex Peña/Getty Images

The sun was also shining on Miss Argentina’s costume, quite literally, as she referenced her country’s national symbol, the May Sun, in more ways than one. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

A veritable assortment of American landmarks adorn the Miss USA outfits, with the Statue of Liberty as the central landmark of the Venezuelan-American beauty pageant. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Venezuela’s costume was a tribute to the dancing devils, also known as spirit dancers, who perform at religious festivals in her country. Alex Peña/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Miss Dominican Republic’s costume was a banana, with what commentators described as a “ready-to-eat” headpiece. Alex Peña/Getty Images South America/Getty Images

The color palette of Miss Spain’s flamenco-inspired dress, which features dramatic ruffled cuffs and a long train, was inspired by carnations. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Pageant commentators explained that another floral moment came from Miss Netherlands, who took to the runway peeling the petals of a rainbow-decorated tulip – a metaphor for her evolution “into the proud woman she is today.” Hector Vivas/Getty Images

With rich details in fabrics and beading, Miss Nigeria’s look was inspired by powerful queens and warriors from her country’s history. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Switzerland’s look was inspired by the uniform of the Swiss Guard (although her sword was amazing). Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Myanmar’s national costume is inspired by the tradition in Buddhist communities where a portion of a family’s or individual’s savings is donated to the local monastery. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Ireland’s costume, which embodies a Celtic sea goddess, is made from recycled plastic sheeting and reclaimed wool – materials chosen to represent the importance of protecting Irish waters from pollutants. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Costa Rica also highlighted her country’s marine ecosystems and beaches in her costume, which was perhaps as similar to “Frozen” as it was to “The Little Mermaid.” Hector Vivas/Getty Images

The Olympic rings adorning Miss Curacao’s uniform served as a reminder to the country’s athletes, who, according to pageant commentators, are keen to compete in the Games with their own flag. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Greece’s collection – inspired by clothing worn by ancient priestesses – was accompanied by a poster that appeared to call for the return of artefacts to the country from foreign museums. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Portugal, Marina Machetti, walks the catwalk during the Miss Universe 2023 National Costume Pageant wearing a sculpted corset, armored sleeves, skirt and wrap cape. An “armored” look for Miss Portugal, one of two transgender women competing in this year’s final. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

As she demonstrated flight safety on the runway, Miss Philippines paid tribute to her status as a reservist in the country’s air force in a flight suit (complete with oversized wings, of course). Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Commentators explained that Miss Ukraine’s costume dealt with the war in her country, as it represents a mother’s love for her son, and hope for a sky free of Russian missiles. Alex Peña/Getty Images

Miss Kazakhstan dressed as the ancient warrior queen Tomiris in a gown that balanced sculpted leather corsets and a dramatic headpiece with delicate ruffles and a sheer cape. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Inspired by Inca culture, Miss Peru’s costume featured a large-scale representation of a tome, a ceremonial knife. Plus lots of pointy feathers. Alex Peña/Getty Images South America/Getty Images

It was an almost wedding moment for Miss Russia, who wore a white dress decorated with intricate beading, a veil and a tiara. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

The elegant outfit worn by Miss Malaysia. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Jamaica on the catwalk. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Honduras paid tribute to the Lenca people and their indigenous crafts and arts, skills that have survived for centuries thanks to oral history and ancestral traditions. The panels of her intricate costume of feathers, beads and embroidery revealed portraits of some of the craftsmen. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Slovakia’s costume featured an ornate headdress made of straw blades. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

It is true that Miss France ventured into the Moulin Rouge fashion department. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Thailand wore an intricate costume in honor of the revered Thai goddess. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss South Africa, Briony Natalie Govender, showed off Zulu beads on her sari-inspired gown. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Mexico wore a colorful look that featured mythical creatures – a magical owl and a deer, respectively, which represent wisdom and focus on traditional folklore. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

“Big hat, big aspirations,” pageant commentators joked about Miss Mongolia’s outfit. Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Miss Nepal’s costume also served as a representation of the evils of war and, more importantly, Nepal’s quest for world peace. She released a stuffed pigeon from the cage she carried onto the stage during her performance. Alex Peña/Getty Images South America/Getty Images

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