Miss France is Miss Universe 2016

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23-year-old Iris Mittenaere from France is Miss Universe 2016.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — France's Iris Mittenaere is the new Miss Universe.

The 23-year-old dental surgery student from the town of Lille in northern Francwe was the top choice among 86 beauty queens from around the world.

Mittenaere and Raquel Pelissier from Haiti held hands on stage as they waited for host Steve Harvey to announce the winner.

Andrea Tovar from Colombia is second runner-up.

There was a light moment in the proceedings when Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach tapped Harvey on the shoulder to hand him a pair of black-rimmed reading glasses before he announced the winner.

In the last Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada, Harvey committed a gaffe when he misread the envelope and declared Miss Colombia as Miss Universe 2015, and the Philippines' Wurtzbach as first runner-up, prompting him to return onstage to correct himself and apologize on live TV to the crowd and millions watching around the world.

Mittenaere's win is the second Miss Universe crown for France. Miss France Christiane Martel won it in 1953.

Down to the Top 3

The final three were whittled further from the Top 6 which included Miss Philippines Maxine Medina, Miss Kenya Mary Esther Were, and Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane.

Misses Colombia, France, and Haiti were all given the same question: "Name something over the course of your life that you failed at, and tell us what you learned from that experience."

Mittenaere's answer, as translated by an interpreter, was: "I've failed several times in my life, so I thought that I failed the first time that I went out on a casting because my name wasn't on the list. The very next day, I found that I was in a new book. So I think that 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 honor of being one of the 3 finalists. So I think that I have failed before, but for me this is a great first opportunity."

However, some were quick to call out the translation. Filipina-French celebrity Solenn Heusaff tweeted that it was not a casting that she failed at, but her first try at medical school.

 

 

Her brother Erwan also offered his own translation.

 

Pelissier, who responded in English, said: "About seven years ago, I survived the earthquake. I feel I was failing myself because I was not living my dreams, I was living day by day in that earthquake. It was a bad event, but I choose to be a very positive person and learn a great lesson from it. Because if I am here today, it's because I am living my dreams."

Pelissier was referring to the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in January 12, 2010. The figures of the death toll ranged between 220,000 to 316,000 and around 1.5 million were displaced.

Tovar's answer, translated from Spanish, was: "I think that many times, one makes mistakes for many things. During moments when you may not accept someone due to their differences, to not accept them due to their sexual preferences, and to not be capable of accepting their error. I think any of those experiences gives you the opportunity to have strength and value and principles."

The pageant's question and answer portion is considered the part that reveals candidates' intelligence and awareness of global issues.

"I am looking for the full package. Some one who embodies confidence, intelligence, personality, style and grace. And of course beauty; inner beauty as well as other beauty," pageant judge Cynthia Bailey said.

The segment used to ask questions on the lighter side, but the trend took a turn for the political last year. Wurtzbach was asked about American bases in the Philippines, while first runner-up Ariadna Gutierrez was asked about drug abuse in her country.

From 86 to 6

Before the Top 3 were announced, the top 6 were also subjected to the first round of question-and-answer segment.

Mittenaere was asked: "Given today's worldwide refugee crisis, do countries have an obligation to accept refugees, or do they have a right to close their borders?"

Mittenaere, who opted for a translator, answered: "The country should have the right to open or close their borders. Throughout the world, people can choose to have the borders open or closed. In Europe we have open borders. In France we want to have the most globalization that we can, we want to have the biggest exchange of people that we can. Maybe someday that will change, but now we have open borders. Having open borders allows us to travel more through the world, and to find out more about what's out there in the world."

Miss Haiti was asked: "On January 21st, an estimated 4.8 million people marched woldwide for human rights, women's rights, and other issues. If you were able to participate, what would you have been marching for?"

Pelissier responded, "One of the women I admire in the world is Eleanor Roosevelt because she fought so much for human rights and I feel like that's what we need in the world. We are just one. A hundred thousand years ago, six species of human lived in the world. Now we are just one. And we all need each other, and we need to respect each other."

The question given to Miss Colombia was: "Why do we believe violence is so prevalent in today's society and what can we do about it?"

"I come from a country that does have violence and this is my reference point," Tovar answered. "And although there are presidents who don't get along with others, we work together to be able to unite. Campaigns, respect, and inclusivity to be able to have a social transformation that will educate our children," she added.

Philippine bet Maxine Medina, who made it to the Top 6, was the first to be asked a question.

She was asked, "What is the most significant change you've seen in the world in the last 10 years?"

Medina, who chose to respond in English, said: "The one event that I saw all the people bringing in one event like this, the Miss Universe. And it's something big to us that we are one. As one nation, we are all together."

Related: Maxine Medina bows out of Miss Universe after reaching Top 6

Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane, the online voting favorite, was asked to "Name a curent or past world leader whom you admire and why."

Suansane named the late, long-reigning and well-loved King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed away last October 13.

"Mabuhay, Philippines! For me that would be the king of Thailand," Suansane said. "His Majesty has been working tirelessly on behalf of the Thai people ever since I was born. For all the Thai people, His Majesty has been like a father to us. Thank you very much. Salamat po." Her phrases in Tagalog were applauded by the audience.

Miss Kenya Mary Esther Were was asked, "Arguably, no US president has had an active first 10 days in office. What are you most excited about, and what most concerns you when it comes to the presidency of Donald Trump?"

Were stammered at first, but gave a longer answer afterward. "Politics... okay, let me just start again," she began.

Were continued, "Donald Trump, having been elected as president of the United States may not have been the choice of many people living in the United States because of the divided support system for the outgoing president Barack Obama, who was supporting an upcoming woman president, who was supposed to be a woman president, Hillary Clinton. So so many people oppose his position, but I feel that once he took up his position, he was able to unify the entire nation."