Photo credit: Carnival Cruise Line (Viktoriia Apanasenko with Christine Duffy)

For the third consecutive year, Carnival Cruise Line has bestowed its “Spirit of Carnival” award on a contestant in the 71st annual Miss Universe competition. This year the honor went to Viktoriia Apanasenko, Miss Universe Ukraine.

The award is given to those who embody the company’s values of fun, friendship, diversity and inclusion, says Carnival.  The “Spirit of Carnival” award presentation was featured during the Miss Universe competition, held in New Orleans and broadcast internationally on Saturday, January 14th, and was given by the company´s president Christine Duffy.

Miss Universe Ukraine Viktoriia Apanasenko serves as a Peace Ambassador of the UN Global Compact Ukraine. She graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv with a master’s degree in social work, and has focused on domestic violence. Overcoming bullying during her school years inspired her to work with mental health causes.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, she has worked to provide food, medicine and hygiene products to Ukrainian families. She also intends to bring awareness to the importance of gender equality in the military through her work with The Female Quotient, an organization founded to advance gender equality in the workplace.

This is the third time a Miss Universe delegate received the “Spirit of Carnival” award. Last year, Miss Universe Bahamas Chantel O’Brian was selected for the award. During the 2021 competition, Miss Universe Dominican Republic Kimberly Jiménez received the award, and was also named the Godmother of Mardi Gras.

“Viktoriia Apanasenko has made it her mission to remind us that the war is ongoing and people across Ukraine are working to support their military, as well as their neighbors affected by the war – especially those displaced from their homes,” said Duffy.

Carnival´s Cruise Line President Christine Duffy also commented that she is impressed by Viktoriia’s strength and her kind, and giving character, which truly embodies the ‘Spirit of Carnival,’ as she said. “And through this recognition, we are also letting the people of Ukraine and especially our Ukrainian crew members, know that we continue to support and admire their spirit as well.”