Miss Universe 2016 is Miss France
(Steve Harvey got it right)
Manila, Philippines –– The Philippines is no stranger to hosting the prestigious Miss Universe pageant, but the recently concluded 65th Miss Universe has proven that beauty pageants are very much embedded in our society.
Fans, armed with crowns, flags and banners, all over the country (and the world) had descended here to cheer for their bets competing at the “most prestigious” beauty pageant in the world or universe.
Beauty pageant watcher Oliver Acebes with Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres
and Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen.
Courtesy: Oliver Supsup Acebes
Oliver Acebes and his five companions had to take a leave from work in Cebu on Saturday just to watch the pageant on Monday (Philippine time). Another fan Helen Castaño came all the way from Tagbilaran City to watch the pageant.
As soon as the plane touched down Manila on Sunday, Castaño went straight to the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena to see the venue. She had photos taken at the replica of the Miss Universe crown.
Both admitted being Miss Universe fans, particularly due to its advocacies.
“I am crazy when it come to beauty pageants because it’s my childhood dream to join beauty pageants,” said Acebes. He said it becomes his passion watching the contestants showcasing their beauty and intelligence.
“From the start, I have been a fan since I love beauty pageants,” Castaño told VRS at MOA.“It’s rarely held in the country so I grabbed the chance.”
Acebes, a PIAnatics (fans named after Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach) who hails from Jagna town, wore his Miss Universe sash during the coronation.
Acebes and Castaño were among the 40,000 people inside the MOA Arena who watched the pageant won by France’s Iris Mittenaere.
|Miss France Iris Mittenaere is the new Miss Universe at the conclusion of the 65th Miss Universe on Monday, January 30, held at the Mall of Asia Arena. Photo by Leo Udtohan|
|Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere Photo: Leo Udtohan|
And the Miss Universe fever has not completely died down yet, and with the much-talked rumors about Mittenaere being gay is circulating on social media.
France’s Mittenaere was crowned the new Miss Universe on Monday (Philippine time) in a glittering ceremony at SM Mall of Asia Arena, bringing her country its first win in the annual pageant in 64 years.
Mittenaere, 23, was born north of France in a town called Lille. Mittenaere has kept herself busy the last 5 years by pursuing her degree in Dental Surgery. Besides dental school, Mittenaere has always been fond of extreme sports, travelling the world and cooking new French dishes. She enjoys making others happy, especially when
volunteering at Bienvenue-Tongasoa and Les Bonnes Fées.
|Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere Photo: Leo Udtohan|
"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 of honor of being one of the three finalists," she told the judges minutes before she was crowned by Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.
Haiti's Raquel Pelissier, a model from Port-au-Prince who survived the 2010 earthquake in the Caribbean country, was first runner up, while Colombia's Andrea Tovar was second runner-up. Kenya’s Mary Were, Philippines’ Maxine Medina and Thailand’s Chalita Suansane, representing Kenya, the Philippines and Thailand, respectively, rounded out the top six.
Comedian Steve Harvey was able to laugh at himself when he hit the stage once again to host the Miss Universe pageant.
At last year's pageant, Harvey made a major blunder when he accidentally announced that Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, was Miss Universe when the crown was really supposed to go to Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach.
Fans come to the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena
to support the 86 candidates of the Miss Universe 2016.
Photos by Leo Udtohan/Solar/MOU/LCS
"Every time I read off a card, I pucker up just a little bit," he admitted during pageant.
Wurtzbach addressed the host's epic flub when she joined him onstage. "Steve, I never got to thank you, but thank you for making me the most popular Miss Universe," she quipped.
"That’s okay,” Harvey responded. “I want to thank you for making me the most famous host of Miss Universe."
Continuing to make jokes throughout the night about his gaffe, Harvey also spoke with Gutierrez about what the people of Colombia thought of him. “A lot of people hate you,” she said lightheartedly. “But you know I love you.”
The jokes carried on until the end of the evening when an Ernst & Young accountant came onstage to give Harvey a stern warning. "Listen to me Sir, this has got to be right, okay?" he quipped. "Can’t let this happen again — you will not leave the Philippines."
As Harvey went to open the envelope to announce the winner, Wurtzbach tapped him lightly on the shoulder and handed him his reading glasses.
“Thank you. Thank you so much, Pia,” he said with exaggerated gratitude. “A year late, but thank you. Thank you, God.”
Luckily, Harvey did end up correctly announcing that Iris Mittenaere of France was the new Miss Universe.
At the Miss Universe Media Center, Mittenaere told reporters that she’ll focus on helping children — especially girls — attend school. The Miss Universe website also said the dental-surgery student hopes to advocate for dental and oral hygiene.
|Your VRS with Miss U judge Cynthia Bailey|
"I think France and Europe really need a Miss Universe,” she told reporters. The Continent hadn’t seen a hometown winner since Amparo Muñoz of Spain was crowned in 1974.
“I was very surprised. I’m always touching the crown. Oh my God, I don’t believe it. It was a big surprise. Every step was a surprise. I wanted to cry in every step. I feel blessed,” Mittenaere said during the press conference.
She believes that her triumph will raise awareness on the pageant owned by the US-based talent agency WME/IMG.
“I think France really needs a new Miss Universe. As you know French people really love beauty pageants, but they don’t really know Miss
Your VRS has a ‘selfie’ with one
of his favorite candidates Miss Bolivia
during the Miss Universe Red
Carpet event on Sunday night,
January 29, 2017.
Universe because never do our country win. So, this way, a lot of people will know and will watch Miss Universe. I’m very proud to win this crown,” she said.
She said she enjoys “no makeup.” “When you join Miss Universe, you have to be confident. I’m confident with no makeup. We don’t need make-up. We don’t need surgery. I just need confidence. I don’t need makeup to love myself.”
Aside from taking home the most coveted Miss Universe crown, Mittenaere would also enjoy several perks from becoming the title holder.
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach passed on her crown to Mittenaere. She is the third to wear the crown worth $300,000.
The Miss Universe crown made by jeweler Diamonds International Corporation was first worn by Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega of Colombia and was turned over to Wurtzbach. Miss Universe Organization (MUO) President Paula Shugart explained that Mittenaere’s predecessor cannot take home the crown by tradition.
According to Miss Universe press, the Miss Universe prize package includes: a year-long salary as Miss Universe; luxury accommodations in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses; a one-year supply of haircare products and tools from Farouk Systems, the makers of CHI Haircare; a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry Shoes & Accessories; a personalized face chart and products from MAC Cosmetics; personal services including membership to Gravity Fitness at Le Parker Meridien Hotel and hair services from John Barrett Salon; a modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographers; dermatology and skincare services; a professional health and nutrition consultation; dental services; professional representation by The Miss Universe Organization; extensive travel representing sponsors and charitable partners; access to various events including casting opportunities, movie premiers, screenings, Broadway shows and launch parties; and personal appearance wardrobe and styling by the official Miss Universe Organization fashion stylist.
The 65th edition of Miss Universe followed a brisk format that trimmed the number of semifinalists to 13 instead of 15.
The 13 competed in swimsuits then the group was whittled down to 9 for the evening gown round. Six advanced to the first interview round. Mittenaere, Pelissier and Tovar were the finalists.
US rapper Flo Rida opened the show with a medley of his hits, including his debut, "Low," and most recent radio staple "Zillionaire."
A surprise soundtrack to the evening gown parade was indie act Kiiara's "Gold."
Boyz II Men lent '90s R&B flair when they serenaded the finalists with "I'll Make Love To You," "On Bended Knee," and "End of the Road."
An estimated 100 million votes were tabulated from fans around the world to determine which lucky contestant would advance into the Top 13 at the start of the live broadcast, with millions more voting throughout the competition. Eighty-six women represented their countries in this year’s pageant.
Miss U Red Carpet
|Miss Universe 2016 in Manila|
Photos: Leo Udtohan
There were Steve Harvey and backstage host Ashley Graham.
The event was also a reunion between Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres and Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen.
Beauty queens Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe 1969, and Margie Moran, Miss Universe 1973 also showed up for the glamorous occasion.
Also present were Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2015 2nd runner-up Olivia Jordan, and Miss Universe 2014 1st runner-up Nia Sanchez.
Performers Boyz II Men and Flo Rida showed up in their trendy tuxedos.
Your VRS asked the former beauty queens and judges what they were looking for the next Miss Universe.
Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran said that there is no magic formula in winning the Miss Universe crown.
“I believe winning the pageant is for me a destiny,” said Moran.
“There is no formula to winning..it is being right time and the right place and the right judges,” she added.
For TV star and former model Cynthia Bailey who was one of the judges, she was looking for a Miss Universe who can make an impact in the society.
“I am looking for the whole package,” she said. “Someone who is confident, someone who is beautiful inside and out, someone who got class, grace and style. Someone who can make an impact.”
“Miss Universe is a woman who is capable of inspiring other women and young girls,” said Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopez.
Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen said she was hoping the best girl would win.
““Honestly, I’d rather be a contestant than a judge. Because as a judge, especially if you have been a contestant, I cannot do that to someone who has worked so hard. I cannot just give her no marks for this. But this is a competition and the best girl must win and the best country must put its best foot forward tomorrow,” said Sen.
Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz said all the candidates had an equal chance in winning the Miss Universe crown.
No other province in the Philippines had given prime spot during the Miss Universe pageant other than Bohol. Sadly, the ladies were not able to visit the province.
When your VRS asked them if they had visited Bohol, I got a blunt reply: “Where’s that?” Most of them were unaware and they shared that their unforgettable places were Cebu, Davao, Boracay and Baguio. I tried to convince them to visit the province which they said they would love to visit if they have the chance.
|Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Flo Rida and|
Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen attend the
Miss Universe Red Carpet event on Sunday night, January 29, 2017.
Photo by Leo Udtohan
The candidates also have nothing but good things to say about this year’s host country.
Their most favorite part? The Filipino people!
Miss Finland Shirley Karvine said one of the most amazing parts of her Miss Universe experience is getting to know the Filipino hospitality.
“I love the Philippines. Everyone is nice and kind. Everyone is full of love. I can’t find that treatment anywhere. I can’t pick the three places because I love the whole Philippines,” she said.
Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal had visited Vigan.
“I love the Filipino people.... Everywhere you go the people are warmth. They would ask you, “Are you okay? Do you need anything?” They really touched my heart,” she said.
Miss Bolivia Antonella Moscatelli said Philippines is a beautiful country. “It’s my first time and it is wonderful for me to be here. I will keep you in my heart.”
“It’s been wonderful. Philippines is an amazing place. It reminds me home because the weather is tropical. But the people here is warmth and welcoming,” said Miss Panama Keiy Drennan.
Miss Argentina Estefania Bernal said the support from her Filipino fans has been humbling and overwhelming.
When I asked her if she would be back, she replied: “Claro de si. Kisses to all my fans. I love you much. I love you Filipino people. “
“I love to be here because everybody is very kind and sweet,” said Miss Hungary Veronika Bodizs.
* Countries with the most number of Miss U wins: USA, eight; Venezuela, seven; Puerto Rico, five; and Philippines, three.
* Number of years countries have to wait between wins: Colombia, 58 (the late Luz Marina Zuluaga in 1958 and Paulina Vega in 2014); Japan, 48 (Akiko Kojima in 1959 and Riyo Mori in 2007); Philippines, 42 (Margie Moran in 1973 and Pia Wurtzbach in 2015); Australia, 32 (Kerry Anne Wells in 1972 and Jennifer Hawkins in 2004); Finland, 23 (Armi Kuusela in 1952 and Anne Photamo in 1974); and Canada, 23 (Karen Dianne Baldwin in 1982 and Natalie Glebova in 2005).
Miss Universe: Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere
First Runner-Up: Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier
Second Runner-Up: Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar
Top Three: Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar; Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere; Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier.
Top Six: Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere; Miss Universe Kenya Mary Esther Were; Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar; Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina; Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane; Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier.
Top Nine: Miss Universe USA Deshauna Barber; Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane; Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere; Miss Universe Mexico Kristal Silva; Miss Universe Kenya Mary Esther Were; Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar; Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell; Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier; Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina.
Top Thirteen: Miss Universe Kenya Mary Esther Were; Miss Universe Indonesia Kezia Warouw; Miss Universe USA Deshauna Barber; Miss Universe Mexico Kristal Silva; Miss Universe Peru Valeria Piazza; Miss Universe Panama Keity Drennan; Miss Universe Colombia Andrea Tovar; Miss Universe Philippines Maxine Medina; Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell; Miss Universe Brazil Raissa Santana; Miss Universe France Iris Mittenaere; Miss Universe Haiti Raquel Pelissier; Miss Universe Thailand Chalita Suansane.
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