Manila: Iris Mittenaere from France has been crowned the new Miss Universe during the 65th edition of the pageant, while Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier was named first runner-up.
Iris, 24, is a Parisian native, currently pursuing a degree in dental surgery. She plans to use her Miss Universe platform to advocate for dental and oral hygiene.
Out of the 86 contestants in the finals, Iris survived the evening gown, swimsuit and numerous Q&A rounds.
She takes over from the until-now reigning Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach from Philippines.
India’s Roshmitha Harimurthy failed to advance to the top 13 of the contest, which saw Andrea Tovar from Colombia emerge as second runner-up.
Roshmitha wasn’t the only India connect at this year’s pageant. Sushmita Sen, who won the pageant in 1994, was one of the judges of the contest and was introduced at the event as “Bollywood superstar, former Miss Universe and champion of women’s rights.”
The panel of judges also included “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey, Paper magazine’s Mickey Boardman and producer Francine LeFrak, as well as Miss Universes 2011 and 1993.
The competition’s other top 13 finalists were Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Panama, Phillippines, Canada, Brazil, Thailand and USA.
Earlier in the ceremony, host Steve Harvey poked fun at his massive goof-up during last year’s ceremony, when he accidentally announced the wrong winner.
Last year, he awarded the crown to the wrong contestant. Miss Colombia 2015 Ariadna Gutierrez was initially announced as the winner, before Harvey realised his mistake and Miss Philippines 2015 Pia Wurtzbach was handed the crown.
Organisers clearly gave the US “Family Feud” host a second chance, but Harvey immediately addressed the elephant in the room during his opening monologue.
“Let get it out of the way, I know what you’re thinking,” he said to the cheering crowd in Manila.
“Is that the guy from last year? Did they bring back that guy from last year? Well they did. It’s me! I’m back! It’s been a long year getting here. Boy, I paid the price for last year with that mistake.
“I went and had a little surgery, had some stuff done to my eyes, so when the card comes up we’ll get it right this year.”