French dental student all smiles as Miss Universe 2017 - Ms Ja Isabel Dalley excluded from final 13
MANILA, Philippines (AP):
A 23-year-old dental student, Iris Mittenaere, from France, won the Miss Universe crown yesterday in a pageant held in the Philippines. Eighty-six candidates competed in this year's pageant, formerly owned by Donald Trump. Judges initially selected a dozen candidates, with a 13th picked through online balloting, which drew 100 million votes worldwide. Jamaica's representative, Isabel Dalley, did not make the cut.
Mittenaere, from Lille city in northern France, buried her face in her hands in shock and joy as the outgoing winner from the Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, crowned her and the crowd erupted in cheers at the packed Mall of Asia Arena by Manila Bay.
Miss Haiti, Raquel Pelissier, a 25-year-old survivor of the devastating 2010 earthquake that destroyed her hometown, was named first runner-up; while Miss Colombia, 23-year-old industrial designer and photographer Andrea Tovar, was second runner-up.
As he closed the ceremony, the host, American comedian Steve Harvey, quipped, "I got it right", referring to his mistaken announcement of Miss Colombia as the winner in last year's pageant in Las Vegas.
In her farewell remarks, a smiling Wurtzbach thanked Harvey for making her "the most popular Miss Universe." Harvey, laughing, thanked her for making him the "most famous" Miss Universe host.
Mittenaere's victory was the first by a French contestant in more than 60 years.
"I think France and Europe really need a Miss Universe after failing to win the crown for so long," Mittenaere said at a post-pageant news conference when she was asked how her countrymen would receive her victory.
The contest has not been as popular in France as in other countries, she said, but "French people will love it now, and every year, they will be watching Miss Universe. I'm very proud to bring this crown to Europe."
Mittenaere said that she would focus on helping all children, especially girls, attend school.