Iris Mittenaere of France is crowned the new Miss Universe 2016 by 2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach in coronation Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines. AP
Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere: About time France has a queen
The newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere said it’s about time France gets to have a queen.
In a press conference after winning the most coveted crown at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Monday, Mittenaere said she hopes her win as Miss Universe would make more French people love and enjoy the prestigious international beauty pageant.
She said France really needed a Miss Universe, after having a 64 year title drought since Christiane Martel in 1953.
“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.
“I think this year, a lot of people will know and will watch Miss Universe. And I think the French people will love (it) now, and every year, they will see and watch on television (the) Miss Universe (pageant),” she added.
Mittenaere said she is proud to bring home the crown not just for France but for the European continent as well.
“I think Europe will watch Miss Universe too. I’m very proud to bring this crown in Europe… Maybe now, Europe will have a lot of Miss Universe,” she said.
Mittenaera is the second from France to win the title since Christiane Martel in 1953.
Mittenaere said she was inspired to do her best in the Miss Universe after watching the Philippines’ own Pia Wurtzbach sashay her way to the crown in 2015.
“When (Pia) went to the Miss Universe and was in the top five, I watched her, and I said, ‘Oh my God, I wanna do the same thing,'” Mittenaere said.
She said she wanted to do the things Wurtzbach did during her one year reign — travel the world and meet people to push for her advocacy.
“When I followed Pia during this year, I saw all the things that she did, and I want to do that also. I want to help people, I want to understand people, I want to travel and meet people, and that’s why this is a dream for me, to be Miss Universe,” she said.
Mittenaere said if there was one thing she enjoyed about the Philippines, it’s the mangoes.
She cited her experience when she was in Cebu where she felt the warmth and compassion of the Filipinos.
“It was a very great experience for me to discover the talent of the people,” she said.
During the question and answer portion, Mittenaere was asked which failure made a mark in her life and how she learned from it.
Mittenaere said she has had failures as she pursues her studies in medicine, but said she learned to keep on trying and keep 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 but translated by an interpreter.
She said if she would not win the crown, she would still be honored for the opportunity.
“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,” Mittenaere said.
Raquel Pelissier of Haiti was named first runner up, while Colombian Andrea Tovar was named second runner up.
At 23 years old, the newly crowned queen is pursuing a degree in dental surgery.
Besides dental school, Mittenaere is also fond of extreme sports, traveling the world and cooking French dishes, according to her profile at the Miss Universe website.
She said her primary advocacies are dental health and oral hygiene. JE/rga