PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- A beauty queen who thrilled many Haitians with a strong showing in the Miss Universe contest has returned home to a high-level welcome.

Raquel Pelissier was the runner-up at the recent pageant in the Philippines, losing out to Miss France. The 25-year-old Miss Haiti is pursuing a master's degree in optometry research in Spain.

On Thursday, she was given flowers by President Jovenel Moise and his wife at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince. She was later feted at a hotel in an upscale district.

The show-biz aura of Miss Haiti was met with widespread indifference in poorer districts of Port-au-Prince, where most residents are focused on the challenges of eking out a living and view the elite with suspicion. (AP)