The 65th Miss Universe competition recently took place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The 86 delegates participated in pre-pageant activities, which included tours around the Philippines in between swimsuit, long gown, and national costume competitions. After a 3-week long journey, meet the new Miss Universe – Miss France Iris Mittenaere.
Mittenaere inherits the crown from 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach. For those who watched the latter’s reign closely, we’re sure you’ll agree about Miss France having big shoes to fill. Judging by how well Mitteneare performed during this year’s pageant, she’s well on her way to an amazing reign herself. Take a look at her journey to the crown.
Iris Mittenaere: Early Favorite
Miss France was an early favorite among the audience, competitors, and judges. Though it wasn’t a guarantee that she was going to win, having the support of so many was definitely a confidence boost for Iris Mittenaere.
From Top 13 to Top 3
Iris Mittenaere faced some tough competition. After the pre-pageant activities, judges narrowed the 86 contestants down to just 13. The top 13 are as follows:
Questions on Candidates Not Making the Cut
Notice how another early favorite, Miss Venezuela, wasn’t on the list? Judge and 1993 Miss Universe Dayanara Torres explained that the organization was trying to break away from the stereotype of the winning candidate looking a certain way. She said, “People need to understand that what you may see on television may be something beautiful. ‘How come this one didn’t make it?’ But we know them in a more personal way. I think being more human at this point in time, when the world is going through so much, it’s much more important than a person that’s just impressionable to look at.”
The Top 6 Face Tough Political Questions
A top 9 was also announced, but only 6 delegates moved on to the question and answer round – Kenya, Colombia, Philippines, France, Haiti, and Thailand. The top 6 were asked questions that gave everyone a glimpse at the issues they would have to address during their reign. The round was quite political and required plenty of thought, but each of them answered to the best of their abilities.
Unfortunately, it was during this round that the Filipino bet fell short. Maxine Medina suffered the same fate as Catriona Gray in the 2016 Miss World competition, failing to get a place in the top 3.
Miss France, alongside Miss Colombia and Miss Haiti, made it into the top 3.
It was at this point that we had a thought.
— CMM (@choicemodelmgmt) January 30, 2017
But really, the top 3 were deserving of their spots based on their Q&A performance.
The Final Question
For the final round, all 3 contestants had to answer the same question. Name something over the course of your life that you failed at, and tell us what you learned from the experience. All 3 decided to have an interpreter.
Andrea Tovar: Miss Colombia’s Answer
I think that many times, one makes mistakes for many things. During moments when you may not accept someone due to their differences, to not accept them due to their sexual preferences, and to not be capable of accepting their error. I think any of those experiences gives you the opportunity to have strength and value and principles.
Iris Mittenaere: Miss France’s Answer
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 3 finalists, so I think that I have failed before, but I think this is a great first opportunity.
This answer got some heat over social media, with some personalities saying that the original answer was different from the interpretation. Solenn and Erwan Heussaff, who speak fluent French, tweeted that Iris Mittenaere did not mention going to a casting. Instead, Miss France talked about failing an exam for medical school. Rather than crying about her shortcoming, she went out to buy a new set of books to study harder.
Raquel Pelissier: Miss Haiti’s Answer
About 7 years ago, I survived the earthquake. I feel I was failing myself because I was not living my dreams, I was living day by day in that earthquake, it was a bad event, but I choose to be a very positive person and learn a great lesson from it. Because if I am here today, it’s because I am living my dreams.
And Our New Miss Universe Is…
Despite the misinterpretation, Iris Mittenaere ultimately became the 65th Miss Universe winner. Those caught unaware of the mistranslation may have wondered why Miss France won.
1993 winner, Dayanara Torres, weighed in on the matter. She said, “In the end, personality had a whole lot to do with it. When you arrive at an event where the Miss Universe is going to be, you want to find a person that’s accessible and not just a robot or with an attitude. You don’t want that. You want somebody that’s more human and who’s going to touch other people. Because when they talk, people are going to listen.”
With her eagerness to help others coupled with her personal response to the final question, Iris Mittenaere definitely fits Dayanara’s description. Miss France proved to be a smart and approachable beauty that anyone can relate to.
Congratulations to Miss France on becoming the new Miss Universe. We wish you the best of luck on your reign!