New Miss Universe thanks Filipinos: ‘You are all exceptional’

NEWLY crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere thanked Monday the people in the Philippines for their warm hospitality and said that her most unforgettable memory of the country was her trip in Cebu.

"You are all exceptional, very welcoming. It was an amazing experience. I think all the girls loved it here," said the 24-year-old Lille native in the post-pageant press conference at Mall of Asia Area, Pasay City.

Mittenaere said that aside from the mangoes, she loves the hospitality of the people and was awed by the beauty of the Philippines.

"Everything is very good in the Philippines, especially the mangoes. But the most memorable was my trip to Cebu. I love that day because it was sunny. It was very good and it was a great experience for me to discover the great talents of the people."

The official Miss Universe contestants visited the province for the swimsuit presentation held at J Park Island Resort and Waterpark.

Following Pia’s footsteps

On Monday, Mittenaere won her country's second Miss Universe title during the coronation held Monday morning at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The dental surgery student bested 85 candidates to take home the coveted crown.

"I was very surprised. I'm always touching the crown because I cannot believe it. It was a big surprise and every step is a big surprise. I'm very proud and I feel blessed."

She said she is happy to bring the crown back to Europe.

Mittenaere also said that she will do her best to be a good Miss Universe and continue what Filipina beauty, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, have started.

She will also advocate education for children.

"Being Miss Universe is a dream. Every girl wants to be Miss Universe. This is exactly what I want to do. When I followed Pia's journey this year, I saw everything that she made and I want to do that also."

"I want to help people, to understand people, I want to travel to meet people. That's why this is a dream for me."

Mittenaere is expected to live in New York City, the home of Miss Universe, for the entire duration of her reign. She will also help bring forward the different causes the organization has supported through the years.

When asked for her message to everyone who rooted for her in the competition, she only has this to say, "Thank you very much and I will love this crown". (SunStar Philippines)
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