MANILA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- A 24-year-old model from France was named the 65th Miss Universe here on Monday, winning the coveted crown for France again after six decades.
Iris Mittenaere beat 85 other beauties to take the title from Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila.
In her first news conference as Miss Universe, she said she is proud to bring the coveted Miss Universe crown to France and Europe. She expressed hope that Europeans will watch and closely follow the prestigious pageant again after her win.
"I think France and Europe really need a Miss Universe (after six decades). I think we need a Miss Universe because French people love beauty pageant but they don't really know Miss Universe because our country never wins (after 1953)," she said.
"After this year, I think a lot of people will know and will watch Miss Universe. I think French people will love Miss Universe now and every year they will be watching Miss Universe."
She said that it has been her dream to become a Miss Universe and her advocacy is to spread the importance of education especially for children and young women.
Mittenaere, who was born the northern French town of Lille, is pursuing a degree in dental surgery. She said she hopes to spread the message of good dental hygiene and oral health.
Asked during the final question and answer portion to "name something over the course of your life that you failed at, and tell us what you learned from that experience," Mittenaere answered through an interpreter, "I failed several times in my life. So I thought that I failed the first time that I went out in the (dentistry registry) because my name was not on the list. And the very next day I found that I was in the new book. So, I think that when you fail you have to be elevated and you have to try again and keep going."
She fulfilled her dream to bring home the crown again after 1953 when Christiane Martel became the first Miss France to win Miss Universe.
Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier, 25, came in the second, while Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar, 23, was placed the third.
The judging panel this year includes Miss Universe 1993 Dayanara Torres from Puerto Rico, Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen from India, Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes from Angola, TV and films producer Francine LeFrack, Paper Magazine editorial director Mickey Boardman and "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Cynthia Bailey.
Steve Harvey hosted the coronation with America's Next Top Model judge Ashley Graham as the backstage host. The popular host plunged into controversy in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant last year when he erroneously announced Miss Colombia as the winner instead of Miss Philippines.
The last time the Philippines hosted the Miss universe was in 1994.