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Miss France is Miss Universe 2016

Iris Mittenaere of France blows kisses to the crowd after being proclaimed the Miss Universe 2016 in coronation Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Iris Mittenaere of France blows kisses to the crowd after being proclaimed the Miss Universe 2016 in coronation Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

AN ASPIRING dentist from France won the crown for this year’s 65th Miss Universe, succeeding the reign of the Philippines’ Pia Wurtzbach.

Iris Mittenaere, 23, who didn’t quite figure in the list of early favorites, swept everyone off their feet when her name was called as Miss Universe 2016 during the coronation held at SM Mall of Asia Arena on Monday.

With her victory, Iris ended the 64-year drought for France, as she will go down in history as the second French woman to win the title since Christiane Martel in 1953.

In a press conference shortly after her win, Iris said it’s about time France gets to have a queen.

“I think the French really need a Miss Universe… because the French don’t really know Miss Universe, because never does our country win,” the newly crowned queen said.

Spending more than two weeks in the host country, the Philippines, Iris shared her most memorable experience aside from her crowning moment at SM MOA.

Miss Universe 2016 contestants pose after making it to the top 9 in the Miss Universe 2016 coronation Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. From left, Maxine Medina of the Philippines, Raquel Pelissier of Haiti, Sierra Bearchell of Canada, Andrea Tovar of Colombia, Mary Were of Kenya, Kristal Silva of Mexico, Iris Mittenaere of France, Chalita Suansane of Thailand and Deshauna Barber of the United States. Mittenaere was proclaimed the Miss Universe 2016. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Miss Universe 2016 contestants pose after making it to the top 9 in the Miss Universe 2016 coronation Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. From left, Maxine Medina of the Philippines, Raquel Pelissier of Haiti, Sierra Bearchell of Canada, Andrea Tovar of Colombia, Mary Were of Kenya, Kristal Silva of Mexico, Iris Mittenaere of France, Chalita Suansane of Thailand and Deshauna Barber of the United States. Mittenaere was proclaimed the Miss Universe 2016. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

She said this happened during her short visit in Cebu last January 17. Add to this her growing love for Cebu’s sweet mangoes.

“It was a very great experience for me to discover the talent of the people,” she said.

During their stay at Jpark Island Resort and Waterpark Cebu, the Miss Universe candidates enjoyed a night of art and fashion as 21 of Cebu’s designers showcased their creations in a fashion show.

HOW SHE NAILED THE Q&A

Iris made her way to the top as she sashayed her way from the preliminaries wearing a Moulin Rouge costume, up until the swimwear and long gown competition.

Asked during the question and answer portion which failure made a mark in her life and how she learned from it, Iris talked about the setbacks in her studies but said these have kept her going.

“I failed several times in my life… When you fail you have to be elevated and you have keep going,” Mittenaere said in French as translated by an interpreter.

“If tonight I will not be the winner I am still honored that I’m still one of the three finalists. For me this is a great opportunity,” she added.

Haiti’s Raquel Pelissier was first runner-up, while Colombia’s Andrea Tovar, who was perceived to be a shoo-in for the crown, landed on the second runner-up spot.

The Philippines’ Maxine Medina and Thailand’s Chalita Suansane, who made it to the competition by earning the highest online votes, completed the top 6 together with Mary Esther Were of Kenya.

Andrea Tovar of Colombia, left, Iris Mittenaere of France, center, and Raquel Pelissier of Haiti, pose shortly after being declared the top three finalists in the Miss Universe 2016 coronation Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Iris Mittenaere was crowned the Miss Universe 2016 while Raquel Pelissier was the runner-up. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Andrea Tovar of Colombia, left, Iris Mittenaere of France, center, and Raquel Pelissier of Haiti, pose shortly after being declared the top three finalists in the Miss Universe 2016 coronation Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. Iris Mittenaere was crowned the Miss Universe 2016 while Raquel Pelissier was the runner-up. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

USA’s Deshauna Barber, an early crowd favorite, Mexico’s Kristal Silva and Canada’s Siera Bearchell made it to top 9.

Raissa Santana, the first black woman to represent Brazil, Peru’s Valeria Piazza and Indonesia’s Kezia Warouw made it to top 13.
Fans of Venezuela were brokenhearted as soon as the top 13 were named after Mariam Habach failed to make the cut. For the past recent years, Venezuela has been one of the countries to beat every Miss Universe.

Among the judges during the pageant were former Miss Universe winners Leila Lopes of Angola, Dayanara Torres of Puerto Rico and Sushmita Sen of India who were warmly welcomed by the audience.

Meanwhile, Pia Wurtzbach who turned over the crown to the new Miss Universe, made an announcement that surprised everyone
during the live telecast of the grand coronation night.

She said she recently signed a contract with IMG models, a New York based talent management agency, joining the ranks of Miranda Kerr, Hadid sisters, Gigi and Bella and Tyson Ballou, among others. (AP)

TAGS: 65th Miss Universe, Andrea Tovar, Cebu, France, Gigi and Bella and Tyson Ballou, Hadid sisters, JPark Island Resort, Miranda Kerr, Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, Puerto Rico, SM Mall of Asia Arena, waterpark cebu
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