First runner-up Miss Haiti talks about Filipino heritage
IRIS Mittenaere from France was crowned as the 65th Miss Universe, succeeding the Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach.
Mittenaere, a 23-year-old dental surgery student, bested the other 85 beauty queens from around the world during the coronation night on Monday, January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.
This was the second time France won the title since Christiane Martel in 1953.
During the question and answer portion, top three Misses Colombia, Haiti, and France were asked: “Name something over the course of your life that you failed at, and tell us what you learned from that experience.”
Mittenaere answered, “I’ve failed several times in my life, so I thought that I failed the first time that I went out on a casting because my name wasn’t on the list. The very next day, I found that I was in a new book.”
“So I think that when you fail, you have to be elevated, you have to try again, and keep going. If tonight, I’m not one of the winners, I will still have the great honor of being one of the three finalists,” she added, as translated by an interpreter. “So I think that I have failed before, but for me, this is a great first opportunity.”
Haiti’s Raquel Pelissier, was named first runner-up, while Colombia’s Andrea Tovar was named the second runner-up.
Pelissier, who previously shared that she has Filipino blood from her mother’s side, thanked her Filipino fans for their support during the pageant.
“I was not expecting so much support and so much love when I came to the Philippines and it was something I have never seen before anywhere in the world so I’m so blessed to be here and to have experienced this amazing journey. Thank you so much, mahal ko kayo (I love you),” she told CNN Philippines.
Pelissier added that she wants to come back and revisit Cebu, Baguio, and Boracay, and learn more about the Philippines and its culture.
The pageant’s top six, meanwhile, comprised of the Philippines’ Maxine Medina, Kenya’s Mary Esther Were, and Thailand’s Chalita Suansane.
During the question and answer portion, Medina was asked what was the “most significant change” she saw in the world in the last decade.
An interpreter repeated the question in Tagalog but Medina, who was previously criticized for not being fluent in English, insisted in not using an interpreter for her reply.
“In the last 10 years of being here in the world, I saw all the people bringing in one event like this, Miss Universe. And it’s something big to us that we are one, as one nation we are all together,” Medina answered.
The top nine included the United States of America’s Deshauna Barber, Canada’s Siera Bearchell, and Mexico’s Kristal Silva.
Brazil’s Raissa Santana, Indonesia’s Kezia Warouw, Panama’s Keity Drennan, and Peru’s Valeria Piazza also made it to the top 13.
Mittenaere said that as the new Miss Universe, her primary advocacies include dental and oral hygiene.
“I’m going to be a dentist. This is a big problem in my country, and in a lot of countries,” Mittenaere said. “So I really want to help children and adults, ‘cause this is a problem I know very well.”
Following Miss France’s coronation, Malacañang sent its congratulations to her.
“Iris brought tremendous joy to her people by representing France well on the international stage with her winning grace, regal bearing and inspiring answer. She has won not only the nod of the judges but the affection of the entire world as well,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella said in a statement.
Malacañang also congratulated Medina for representing the Philippines and making it to the top six.
“We likewise congratulate Maria Mika Maxine Medina for making it to the top six. She represented the Philippines well in the international scene,” Abella added.
Pia hands Harvey a pair of glasses
During the coronation night, Mittenaere and Pelissier held hands as they waited for host Steve Harvey to announce the pageant’s winner.
But Miss Universe 2015 Wurtzbach broke the tension when she tapped Harvey on his shoulders.
Just as Harvey was about to announce the final winner, Wurtzbach handed him a pair of reading glasses.
“Thank you, Pia,” Harvey said, joined by a laughing crowd. “A year late, but thank you.”
During the last Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada, Harvey committed a gaffe when he declared Miss Colombia as Miss Universe 2015, and Wurtzbach as first runner-up.
Harvey later apologized for the mistake and announced Wurtzbach as the true winner.