A French dental surgery student was named Miss Universe 2016 during a three-hour worldwide telecast from the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City yesterday morning, ending the 63-year drought for her nation for the prestigious title.
Iris Mittenaere, 24, of Lille, France, bested 85 other contestants for the Miss Universe crown. She was crowned by outgoing Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines.
Mittenaere is the second Miss Universe from France. The first one was Christianne Martel who snapped the title in 1953.
The French beauty queen impressed the judges in the final question round and final look portions of the pageant.
For the final question, the Top 3 candidates were asked a common question: “Name something over the course of your life you failed at; and tell us what you learned from that experience.”
Mittenaere answered: “I think that when you fail you have to be elevated and you have to try again and keep going. I think I failed before but for me this is the best opportunity.”
First runner-up honors went to Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier while Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar, second runner-up.
Miss Philippines Maxine Medina failed to make the Top 3 after the question round.
Candidates in the Top 6 are France, Kenya, Colombia, Philippines, Thailand and Haiti.
After the swimsuit round, the Top 9 candidates who made the cut were USA, Thailand, France, Mexico, Kenya, Colombia, Canada, Haiti and Philippines.
Candidates who landed in the Top 13 were Kenya, Indonesia, USA, Mexico, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Philippines, Canada, Brazil, France, Haiti, and Thailand, winner of online fan vote.
Some 100 million votes were cast during the five days of online fan voting.
The prestigious beauty pageant opened with a high-energy number from American rapper Flo Rida as candidates paraded on stage in evening gown and cocktail dress.
American host Steve Harvey joked about having an eye surgery so that he will not commit mistake which happened last year.
Last year, Harvey announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez won when in fact it was Miss Philippine Pia Wurtzbach.
“Pia is one remarkable woman. It’s great to see you. You were first runner-up for 28 seconds,” Harvey told Pia as she emerged on stage.
Asked about her reign, Wurtzbach told Harvey: “It really exceeded my expectations. It was a remarkable year. I’ve really grown as a woman. I just signed with IMG.”
Wurtzbach said that he forgot to thank Harvey. “Thank you for making me the most popular Miss Universe.”
Harvey responded: “I wanna thank you for making me the most popular host of Miss Universe.”
Wurtzbach said that she is happy that the pageant was held in the Philippines for the third time.
“It’s really about time for the Philippines to stage it because we have so much talent and we are just waiting to be recognized. We have so much to offer and welcome everybody to the Philippines,” the German-Filipino beauty queen said.
Fans waved flags of their favorite candidates at the crowded venue. As early as 6 a.m., pageant fans have lined outside the MOA to watch the beauty pageant.
Some of the fans even wore evening gown, crown and sash in support of their idols in the pageant.
Victory press conference
Mittenaeare said that she could not believe she won the pageant.
“I wanted to cry every step but I think Miss Universe should be confident,” she said.
Asked about her first message to the universe, the new beauty queen said: “Thank you very much. I will love this crown. I promise to be a good Miss Universe and I want to meet you all.”
With her winning the prestigious pageant, she believes that France and Europe will now watch Miss Universe.
The future dentist said that she has still two more years to finish dental surgery.
After that, Mittenaeare said that she could actively campaign for dental hygiene, especially among children.
Mittenaere, who stands 5’8 tall, said that she has kept herself busy pursuing her degree in dental surgery for the last five years.
Apart from dental school, Mittenaere is fond of extreme sports, travelling the world and cooking new French dishes.
She also describes herself as funny and caring.
Mittenaere said that she would advocate dental and oral hygiene now that she is Miss Universe.
Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said that President Rodrigo Duterte was not able to watch the pageant live at the MOA due to previous commitments.
Teo said that she enjoyed watching the Miss Universe beauty pageant live.
Asked if she would like the Miss Universe beauty pageant to be held in the Philippines again, Teo said “yes.”
“Give us two more years siguro so that we can prepare again,” Teo added.
Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart thanked former Governor Chavit Singson and Teo for the third successful staging of the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines.