The 65th Miss Universe pageant finally culminated on Monday, January 30, with Miss France Iris Mittenaere winning the crown. Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier got the crucial 1st Runner-up post and Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar bagged the 2nd Runner-up title.
Hours before a new queen was declared, Miss Universe fans already lined up at the entrance of the MOA Arena waving flags and wearing sashes bearing the names of their bets.
Earlier, during a TV interview, Miss Philippines Maxine Medina thanked her supporters, saying her confidence has been boosted them by their encouraging words.
“You are the biggest Miss Universe fans!” host Steve Harvey told the approving audience at one point in the show.
The recognition of such fan power was further asserted when the pageant organizers opened its online global voting component for initially the Final 12, then just a day before the coronation night, for the Final 13 hopefuls.
On coronation day, fans didn’t just show up on what has been touted as “the most beautiful day in the universe,” but they also presented their support through banners, mini-flags, elaborate costumes, and other gimmicks. If anything, Monday morning’s successfully staged coronation night—well, Steve Harvey got the name of the winner right—showed excitement not just onstage but from the audience’s gallery as well.
Before the program began, we met up with some pageant fans and family members of the candidates to asked them what they hoped this year’s Miss Universe would bring.
Marlon Palma of the Philippines: ‘Continue Pia’s advocacies’
Thirty-one-year old Marlon Parma who came all the way from Iriga City, Bicol to watch the pageant, hopes that the next Miss Universe to continue Pia Wurtzbach’s advocacies against bullying and HIV awareness. “Yung tungkol sa bullying and yung HIV sana yun yung pagtuunan nya ng pansin. Kasi bullying in social media nowadays is rampant. Siguro yun yung dapat pagtuunan ng Miss Universe especially since it ruins people’s lives.”
Kiriaki Chris of Washington D.C.: ‘Unity among countries’
Kiriaki Chris, from Washington DC feels excited to be back in his homeland after a long time. Born in Samar, he shared that being back is a surreal experience. Wearing a head piece decorated with mini flags of different countries,
Chris said he hopes for unity among the participating countries. “My hat is a representation of all the delegates of Miss Universe and of course, most of it is the Philippine flag to represent Pia because we have to honor Pia as she will end up to be one of the most hard working and most famous Miss Universe ever. She’s wonderful. She really worked her head off. It will be a big challenge (for the next one),” he said.
“The main story of this is the representation, the unity of all the candidates and hopefully peace will come around not just with all the countries but to everyone,” he added.
Brian Green of Barbados: ‘The sound of the voiceless’
For Brian Green, national director of Miss Universe Barbados, the characteristics of a Miss Universe should be someone who is confident, someone who understands that her voice is to be used for someone who doesn’t have a voice. He further added that she should be someone who is compassionate, kind, and of course beautiful.
Although there Barbados and the Philippines are miles away from each other, Green finds many similarities between the two countries. “It’s incredible of course. It took us nearly 25 hours flying from Barbados to get here but there’s so many similarities. It’s warm, you’ve got great beaches just like Barbados so it feels like we’re home. Not that much difference and the people are friendly and kind just like in Barbados,” he said.
Joanna Ac of Germany: ‘Pride in one’s country’
Miss Universe Germany Joanna Acs’s sister, Francisca thinks that the Miss Universe should be proud of the country she is representing. “I think it’s not really about beauty. It’s more about what you do for the community, what you love about your country, and how you represent your country. You have to be really proud of your country so I think it is really important that the miss universe is humble like she fights for her beliefs and that she’s there for the people of her country,” she said.
Having experienced the warmth of Filipinos, Francisca fell in love with the Philippines. She shared, “The enthusiasm is just great. We love the Philippines. The Filipinos are so nice. My sister also said she can’t believe it; it’s breathtaking. There’s no better country to do this pageant than the Philippines.”
Salvador Palacios of Peru: ‘Have the right direction’
For Miss Peru Valeria Piazza’s stepfather Salvador Palacios, who finds the Philippines surprisingly beautiful, the next Miss Universe should be an intelligent person, and (is someone who is) resolved to do things. He further added that beauty is not that important; what is important is she’s very intelligent, smart, and she’s oriented to a good direction.
Doreen Folding of UK: ‘Goal-oriented’
Doreen Folding, Miss UK Jamie Lee Faulkner’s grandmother said that the Miss Universe should be assertive. “They’ve got to know what to do; what their goals are; and be good to other people,” she added.
Irma Carillo of Guatermala: ‘A good heart’
Supporting the representative of her country Miss Guatemala Virginia Argueta, Irma Carillo says the next Miss Universe should be smart, beautiful and have a good heart.
Oswaldo Imbachi of Colombia: ‘Beautiful inside and out’
Former national director of Miss Universe Colombia Oswaldo Imbachi thinks that the perfect Miss Universe is someone beautiful inside out. “I believe that Miss Universe should be a woman that once she walks into the room, everybody stands out and say, ‘that’s Miss Universe.’
In addition to that, and adding to what Pia had said, she should be confidently beautiful because it’s not only about looks, it’s about the woman inside, the person that is going to be behind the image,” he said. “The combination of both outside and inside is what makes the perfect Miss Universe,” Imbachi, who noted that he would always remember the smile of Filipinos, added.
Yogash R. of Malaysia: ‘The next Miss Universe should be confident and beautiful’
Yogash R, Miss Malaysia Kiran Jassal’s stylist went to the Philippines to cheer for the latter. Moreover, for him, the Miss Universe should be confidently beautiful. “You have to be yourself, believe in all your principles, and empower every single person,” he said.
Shevette Willaimson of Bahamas: ‘Poised with humility’
For Shevette Williamson and Rivello Williamson parents of Miss Bahamas Cherell Williamson, the Miss Universe should be poised and elegant. She should have good attitude, humble, and friendly.