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MISS U ORGANIZATION HAILS PH 'PERFECT' HOSTING
[RELATED: Miss U vows: I will come back]


Iris Mittenaere of France walks down the ramp shortly after being proclaimed the Miss Universe 2016  “This is the best show I’ve ever done.” This was how Paula Shugart, Miss Universe Organization (MUO) president, on Monday summed up the 65th Miss Universe pageant, which the Philippines hosted after more than two decades. At a press conference with the newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere of France, Shugart thanked the Department of Tourism (DOT) and businessman-politician Luis “Chavit” Singson “for making [the 2016 franchise] happen.” “We first talked about this in July and here we are seven months after with a worldwide telecast in over 190 countries and millions of viewers all watching the Philippines,” Shugart said. “It is very exciting and I want to thank the Filipino people and the Philippine media for their support.” Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said hearing those words from the MUO was heartwarming given all the sacrifices and tough work the Philippines had to do to stage the pageant. The Philippines first hosted the beauty contest in 1974 and the second in 1994. READ MORE..RELATED, Miss U vows: I will come back ...

ALSO: What made Iris Mittenaere win - Sash factor’s role in French Beauty Queen’s Miss U win
[RELATED: Miss Universe 2016 to fly to New York on Thursday]


FEBRUARY 2 -Magnetic personality the newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere, a 24-year-old dental student, during her first press conference. (Portrait by Noel Pabalate)
Three days after the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Manila, “beau con” fans are still abuzz with talk and post-pageant “analysis” about its ultimate outcome. Forget Miss Venezuela Mariam Habach’s mysterious exclusion from the top 12. It most likely had something to do with the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) and the former frontrunner and her alleged “attitude problem.” The pageant’s biggest surprise was the come-from-behind entry and near-win of Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier. Except for a few pageant pundits, including designer Noel Crisostomo, who predicted that Pellisier would go far in the contest, no one took her seriously until she kept on progressing and eventually reaching the top three during the contest. Crisostomo, in a “fearless” forecast that appeared in Manila Bulletin Lifestyle on the eve of the pageant, said of the Haitian beauty queen who claims to have Filipino blood: “I love her in the gold beaded evening gown during the preliminaries. She’s very elegant and very natural. I think she’s the total package—lovely and speaks five languages. She will surprise everyone on Monday.” READ MORE...RELATED, Miss Universe 2016 to fly to New York on Thursday...

ALSO: Miss Canada proves body shamers wrong with her top 9 finish
[RELATED: Miss Universe Canada calls out body shamers: ‘This is not OK’]


JANUARY 31 -INSTAGRAM POST:  45.7k likes 2,822 comments This is the generation of body diversity. This is the time we start working together to redefine the global vision of beauty. THANK YOU for every message, every comment and every story you have shared with me. 🙏🏻 I was proud to the point of tears to represent myself, my country, and the women of the world. I promise you, this is just the beginning.🇨🇦🙌🏻 #confidentlybeautiful #missuniverse #misscanada 1 DAY AGO
Faced with body shaming, Siera Bearchell of Canada said she has proven her critics wrong after her top nine finish at the 65th Miss Universe competition on Monday. In an interview with reporters on the red carpet of the afterparty in Okada Manila, Bearchell was all praise for the new Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere from France who was crowned on Monday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. “She’s beautiful, she’s sweet. We’re all happy, because she’s friendly from the inside out,” Bearchell said. READ: Healthy teeth is Iris Mittenaere’s advocacy as Miss Universe She also took the time to address her bashers who subjected her to body shaming, supposedly because she was not as thin as the other Miss Universe candidates. And because she finished at the top nine, Bearchell said she has proven her critics wrong. READ MORE...RELATED, Miss Universe Canada calls out body shamers: ‘This is not OK’...

ALSO: The Maxine Medina question - What is your favorite animal? "My sister should have said Dove, it represents peace.  We rehearsed it a million times."
[RELATED: A look at the new Miss Universe and Mrs. Grandma Universe]


FEBRUARY 5 -No matter what you say, she did the country well.—AFP 
Dove,” my sister should have said. “It represents peace.” The question was, “What is your favorite animal?” We’d rehearsed that answer a million times before pageant day, but she answered: “Pusa po, kasi po may nanganak sa harap ng bahay namin.” True, but not deep enough. That was 10 years ago, she was 11, but her competitors had impressive answers. She didn’t make the cut. Maxine Medina also didn’t come up with a strong enough answer to her Top 6 question, “What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?” (Translated into: “Ano ang pinakamakabuluhang naganap na pangyayaring nakita mo sa mundo sa loob ng sampung taon?”) “In the last 10 years of being here in the world, I saw all the people bringing in one event like this in Miss Universe. It’s something big to us that we are one. As one nation, we are all together,” she said. Aside from the obvious mistranslation, many other things came into play. READ MORE...RELATED, A look at the new Miss Universe and Mrs. Grandma Universe...

ALSO: PH's Maxine Medina at Miss Universe 2016 coronation
[READ: All the answers from the Miss Universe 2016 QnA rounds]


JANUARY 31 -Maxine Medina, Miss Philippines 2016 answers her Top 6 Question on stage with Host, Steve Harvey during The 65th Miss Universe in Manila. HO/The Miss Universe Organization
After shining at the preliminaries, Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina gave it her all during the grand coronation on Monday, January 30. Maxine made it to the Top 6 of the pageant, while France's Iris Mittenaere won the title of Miss Universe. (READ: Netizens answer Maxine Medina's question for Miss Universe) Here are photos of Maxine during the swimsuit and evening gown segments! READ: All the answers from the Miss Universe 2016 QnA rounds...READ MORE...

ALSO: Miss Universe Contestants Shattered the Pageant Dress Stereotype
[RELATED: Different fashion mentality in Miss U For designers, it’s blood, sweat and tears.]


JANUARY 30 -Miss Universe contestant Iris Mittenaere, right, of France is crowned the 2017 winner by former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines during the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Jan. 30, 2017. (Photo: AFP)
More Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe gaffe stole the show during the 2016 Miss Universe competition. Yet for this year’s scandal-free event, the gowns (and, of course, the women wearing them) were a focal point of the night — which was good news for Marquis Bias, the stylist for the Miss Universe Organization. So what made this year’s pageant fashion, which is typically overlooked, different than in the past? Contestants shifting away from wearing typical “pageant” looks (think voluminous tulle skirts with jewel-encrusted bodices in bright colors) and opting for more typical red carpet ready stunners. Bias, who is a fan of the trend, says that the change is being brought on by the participants themselves and that IMG, which bought the organization in late 2015, has also been a proponent of the shift. “Of course there’s still girls that are tried and true pageant girls, and their gowns are very of that inspiration, but I feel that a lot of the girls that are more successful in the evening gown competition are girls that choose gowns that could easily be seen on any red carpet,” Bias tells Yahoo Style. Case in point: the dresses worn by the competition’s top nine finalists, especially those of Miss Kenya, Miss Thailand, and Miss Haiti. Of course, no one’s fashion was more emblematic of this trend than that of the crowned winner herself, Miss France, Iris Mittenaere. READ MORE...RELATED,
Different fashion mentality in Miss U For designers, it’s blood, sweat and tears. And for pageant fanatics, it’s one big fight...


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Miss U organization hails PH ‘perfect’ hosting


Iris Mittenaere of France walks down the ramp shortly after being proclaimed the Miss Universe 2016 AP photo Bullit Marquez

MANILA, FEBRUARY 6, 2017 (INQUIRER) By: Armin P. Adina, Jocelyn R. Uy - @inquirerdotnetPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 01:00 AM January 31, 2017  - “This is the best show I’ve ever done.” This was how Paula Shugart, Miss Universe Organization (MUO) president, on Monday summed up the 65th Miss Universe pageant, which the Philippines hosted after more than two decades.

At a press conference with the newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere of France, Shugart thanked the Department of Tourism (DOT) and businessman-politician Luis “Chavit” Singson “for making [the 2016 franchise] happen.”

“We first talked about this in July and here we are seven months after with a worldwide telecast in over 190 countries and millions of viewers all watching the Philippines,” Shugart said. “It is very exciting and I want to thank the Filipino people and the Philippine media for their support.”

Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said hearing those words from the MUO was heartwarming given all the sacrifices and tough work the Philippines had to do to stage the pageant.

The Philippines first hosted the beauty contest in 1974 and the second in 1994.

READ MORE...

‘Perfect’


Paula Shugart, Miss Universe Organization (MUO) president"The greatest Miss Universe fans in the world are here in the Philippines" - Paula Shugart on Filipino fans

Teo said she believed that the country’s hosting of the 2016 franchise was “perfect,” as the MUO head kept on telling her throughout the pageant, which commenced on Jan. 15, that the organization “was very happy with what was happening.”

Shugart had also been getting a lot of text messages from abroad asking where the Philippines was, according to Teo. “That alone was a sign that many people are starting to get interested about the Philippines,” said the DOT chief.

During the main competition at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach said the hosting of the beauty contest was an effort to put the Philippines back on the world stage.

“We are just waiting to be recognized. It’s about time. We have so much beauty. We have so much to offer,” Wurtzbach said.

Singson, chair of LCS Group of Companies, said the more than $14 million he coughed up for the 2016 franchise was not a financial loss but an investment he would later recover when more tourists start visiting the country.

An increase in tourist arrivals would also mean more jobs and business opportunities, he added.

‘Mr. Universe’
To show the MUO’s appreciation for Singson, Shugart awarded him with a sash that said “Mr. Universe.”

Aside from Singson, Philippine television network Solar, Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada, SM Group and Philippine Airlines were the other partners of Miss Universe.

Filipinos showcased warm hospitality until the end of the pageant even if their representative missed the final cut.


Gloria Diaz, Margie Moran Floirendo, Luis “Chavit” Singson, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo at the Makati Garden Club press-con earlier on January 5, 2017 INQUIRER FI;LE

Singson willing to have Miss Universe pageant in PH againLifestyle & Fashion
People at SM Mall of Asia Arena were ecstatic throughout the three-hour ceremonies, and screamed their lungs out whenever Miss Philippines Maxine Medina appeared onstage and especially during her inclusion in the Top 13, then the Top 9 and then finally in the Top 6.

Hometown crowd

But when the 26-year-old Medina missed the final cut to three, the audience briefly lost its jubilance. The hometown crowd eventually showed magnanimity and continued to cheer for the final three delegates.

Haiti’s Raquel Pelissier appeared to have gained a huge support group after the final question round. She received a round of thunderous applause from the predominantly Filipino crowd during the “final look” segment of the competition.

When Colombia’s Andrea Tovar was announced the second runner-up, the people started yelling “Haiti!”

But American host Steve Harvey, this time with the aid of spectacles handed over by Wurtzbach, announced France’s Mittenaere as the new winner.

Still, the Filipino crowd welcomed Mittenaere’s proclamation and punctuated it with a warm round of applause and euphoric cheers.

Good sport

Designer Joji Lloren said it showed that “Filipinos are a good sport.”

For American George de Carlo, who came to the show to accompany his partner, Medina’s interpreter, the Filipinos “did the proper thing. They just moved ahead and moved towards who they saw was the better candidate.”


Iris Mittenaere of France blows kisses to the crowd after being proclaimed Miss Universe 2016  in coronation January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia. (AP photo Bullit Marquez)

The Filipino crowd even saved some love for 1993 Miss Universe Dayanara Torres and 1994 Miss Universe Sushmita Sen, who were part of the judging panel, and welcomed them with a hearty applause.

Sen, who received her crown from Torres in the pageant staged in the Philippines, took the time to reciprocate the affection she received and announced: “Mahal kita, Philippines!”

Even the new queen found the Filipino people’s hospitality remarkable.

“Thank you to all the Filipinos. You are exceptional,” Mittenaere said in her first press conference at the media center near the arena minutes after her coronation.

“You are so lovely with us. All the girls in the pageant love you,” she said of the Filipino people.

MORE READS HERE: https://pop.inquirer.net/miss-universe/news/

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Miss U vows: I will come back By Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 3, 2017 - 12:00am 0 32 googleplus0 0



AU REVOIR: Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere stands next to a tarp of the 70th anniversary of Franco-Philippine Friendship at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City, where she met French Ambassador Thierry Mathou before leaving the country for New York yesterday. GEREMY PINTOLO

MANILA, Philippines - Newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere stayed in the country to visit a few places instead of leaving right after coronation day.

And she wants to come back. “I will,” she said before boarding Philippine Airlines flight PR 126, the official carrier of Miss Universe bound for New York City that would be her home during her year-long reign.

On her Instagram account (irismittenaeremf), Mittenaere became a bit sentimental as she prepared to leave the country.

“Last hour in my second home ... Philippines forever in my heart § Mahal ko kayo §#missuniverse #missfrance #thankyou #philippines #love,” she posted with her photo while at the airport.

On Wednesday, she also posted a photo of a sunset and captioned it: “Dernier coucher de soleil ici ... last sunset here ... #manila #thankyou #missuniverse #missfrance #beautiful #sunset.”

The French beauty met with French Ambassador Thierry Mathou at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City yesterday, She paid a courtesy call on US Ambassador Sung Kim at the US embassy in Manila on Wednesday.

Miss Germany Johanna Acs also stayed in the country instead of leaving after the pageant.

On her Instagram account (@johannaacs), the German beauty posted a photo of her on a hammock and enjoying a beach in Puerto Princesa in her bikini.


Miss Universe contestant Johanna Acs of Germany presents during the national costume and preliminary competition of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia arena in Manila on January 26, 2017.Miss Germany has given away her castle headpiece which was part of her national costume to an exhibit at the College of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila. The headpiece weighs two-kilogram, reports said.  (AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Mahal ko ang Pilipinas! Not going home yet! Philippines, you are so beautiful! So excited to see more of your breathtaking country and explore the beautiful island of Palawan with my family. I feel so blessed to be here right now. What is a must do on this island? We are planning to do the Honda Bay Island Hopping, Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour and the Underground River Tour. If we have enough time, we also want to do El Nido – but that’s pretty far from Puerto Princesa, isn’t it?! #itsmorefuninthephilippines #philippines #palawan #puertoprincesa,” Acs wrote, receiving comments from followers on how to get to El Nido to answer her question.

When the Miss Universe contestants went to Batangas City for one of the pageant activities on Jan. 19, Acs also posted a photo of her in a bikini on a yacht and in the middle of the sea.

“Sailing to Batangas today. Amazed by what beautiful islands the Philippines has to offer! What an incredible country! Enjoying every single ray of sunlight. Not just a saying – but it’s really more fun in the Philippines. #itsmorefuninthephilippines #yamamay #missgermany #missuniversegermany #missuniverse #yacht #batangas #philippines,” she posted.

For his part, the French ambassador confirmed the 24-year-old dental surgery student Mittenaere would like to return to the Philippines.

Mathou told reporters following their meeting, “Actually she is the real ambassador, I’m just a proxy.”

Mittenaere was not allowed by the Miss Universe Organization to answer questions from the media.

Mathou said Mittenaere was “very excited” to perform her duties as Miss Universe, noting that it would also be her first time to go to New York.

The French envoy said he was expecting her to be very active in pushing various advocacies, including health and education.

Mathou said he was satisfied with the overall performance of his compatriot, particularly in the question and answer portion where she was asked about France’s open borders.

“She answered what she has to answer,” Mathou said. “Because France is an open country.” – With Rudy Santos


MANILA BULLETIN

Sash factor’s role in French Beauty Queen’s Miss U win What made Iris Mittenaere win? 1 SHARES Share it! Published February 2, 2017, 12:06 AM By Alex Y. Vergara


Magnetic personality the newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere, a 24-year-old dental student, during her first press conference. (Portrait by Noel Pabalate)

Three days after the 65th Miss Universe beauty pageant in Manila, “beau con” fans are still abuzz with talk and post-pageant “analysis” about its ultimate outcome.

Forget Miss Venezuela Mariam Habach’s mysterious exclusion from the top 12. It most likely had something to do with the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) and the former frontrunner and her alleged “attitude problem.”

The pageant’s biggest surprise was the come-from-behind entry and near-win of Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier.


Noel Crisostomo. DESIGNERS FROM PREVIEW MAGAZINE

Except for a few pageant pundits, including designer Noel Crisostomo, who predicted that Pellisier would go far in the contest, no one took her seriously until she kept on progressing and eventually reaching the top three during the contest.

Crisostomo, in a “fearless” forecast that appeared in Manila Bulletin Lifestyle on the eve of the pageant, said of the Haitian beauty queen who claims to have Filipino blood: “I love her in the gold beaded evening gown during the preliminaries. She’s very elegant and very natural. I think she’s the total package—lovely and speaks five languages. She will surprise everyone on Monday.”

READ MORE...

And surprise us she did.

“As pageant observers, it’s always the Latinas we watch out for,” said publicist Albert Almendralejo. “This year, however, the Asian candidates also came out strong. We knew USA and a number of Europeans would reach the semis, but we never seriously considered Kenya or Haiti. Call it pageant favoritism on our part. Also, we’re not privy to what went on during the one-on-one preliminary interviews. Many dark horses like Haiti, Kenya, and even France usually emerge after these interviews.”

Almendralejo, of course, is referring to France’s Iris Mittenaere, the pageant’s eventual winner. Although many observers tipped her to break into the top 12, none of them really saw her slaying on stage frontrunners like Colombia’s Andrea Tovar, Thailand’s Chalita Suansane, even hometown girl Maxine Medina.


Miss France Iris Mittenaere in a clingy and beaded canary yellow gown

“I was really rooting for Haiti all the way,” said Crisostomo. “I felt that one of the reasons she wasn’t noticed by pageant fans, especially Filipinos, was the fact that she peaked too late. The crowd didn’t really notice her until she answered the final question. All eyes were on France and Colombia near the end of the show.”

In the eyes of many pageant fans, it was Pelissier and not Mittenaere, who managed to come up with a fairly cohesive and respectable answer, who had the more memorable and dramatic answer to the final question.

Asked by Miss Universe host Steve Harvey to “name something over the course of your life that you failed at and tell us what you have learned about the experience,” Pelissier, unlike the others, had to ask him again to repeat the question. It also took her a few seconds to gather her thoughts.

“About seven years ago, I survived the earthquake and I thought I was failing,” she said, her voice cracking. “I wasn’t living my dream. I was living day by day. And that earthquake, it was such a very bad event, but I chose to be a very positive person and learn a great message from it. If I’m here today, it’s because I’m living my dream.”

But after nearly stealing the show with her seemingly heartfelt answer, Pelissier suddenly found herself bowing down to Mittenaere. The French beauty queen from Lille ended her country’s almost 64-year Miss Universe title drought. Again, our pageant analysts have plenty of things to say about Mittenaere—victory over her Haitian rival.

“Personally, I feel that France has a much wider appeal, a more approachable look that could open up possibilities for MUO in the European market,” said pageant watcher Voltaire Tayag. “Haiti was amazing, but her look can come off as too fierce, too strong, and too intimidating.”

“It’s not just about the final answer, but the overall impression each girl gave,” Tayag continued. “If I had to chose between two equally qualified candidates for a certain job, I’d probably end up choosing the one who seems more relatable and easier to work with. In this case, it would be France.”


Top 3 contestants at Miss Universe 2016. Picture courtesy: Instagram/arquitectodemisses

Stylist Monika Ravanera, makeup artist Gio Flores, and -share almost the same analogy. Without meaning to imply that one girl is prettier than the other, the contest’s final result, they said, all boiled down to looks and the candidates” innate charisma.

“Backstage, Miss France was more charming,” said Ravanera. “She has a magnetic personality and a contagious smile. Miss Haiti nailed it in the final question, but for me, she is more of a model type—from her height to her bone structure. Without a doubt, she has strong stage presence. But when you see her in person, the first thing that will come to your mind is this girl is a model.”

“We were seated in the front, and we saw how incredibly beautiful France was,” said Flores. “She seems very grounded and humble, too. Apart from having the brightest aura that morning, I felt that she spoke from the heart. For me, she’s the blonde version of MJ Lastimosa.”

Flores went on to emphasize that IMG, new owner of Miss Universe, is a talent management company. France appears to be the more marketable girl compared to Pelissier and Tovar, the two other finalists in the top three.

'THE TOTAL PACKAGE'

“Iris is the total package,” Flores said. “Miss Universe, despite its supposed new thrust under IMG, has been known for choosing someone with an arresting facial beauty and physique. It helps that Iris also has a magnetic personality.”

Geopolitics and not politics within MUO per se may have also played a hand in Mittenaere’s win.

Apart from ending France’s own Miss Universe drought, she also ended Europe’s drought.

The last time a European won Miss Universe was way back in 2002 when Russian beauty queen Oxana Federova won the crown. But before she could complete her one-year reign, she was dethroned in favor of Panama’s Justine Pasek.

“Aside from being gorgeous in her evening gown, France won because politically, it’s time for a European to win,” said Almendralejo. “The immigrant issue in Europe is one of the hottest issues in the world today. We have to remember that Miss Universe is also a politically oriented organization, with multinational judges and a penchant to take raging global issues into consideration.”

Last year, for instance, when Pia Wurtzbach won, many pageant observers were predicting that the French delegate would earn a spot in the finals because of the series of deadly bombings that took place in Paris. And Flora Coquerel, last year’s Miss France, did perform well. It was a “learning experience” for many pageant pundits then, Almendralejo added.

“Even before the top 12 was announced, I was already thinking that at least one European would join the semis to call attention to the continent-wide problem of mass immigration, especially coming from the Middle East. France had the most relevant and politically correct answer in the final round. I wasn’t surprised she won,” he concluded.

SASH FACTOR


Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier - Miss Universe 2017 Runner-Up FROM HEAVY.COM: Last night, the new Miss Universe 2017 was crowned and the winner was Miss France, with Miss Haiti as the first-runner-up. Miss Haiti Raquel Pelissier used the night to talk about the strength she feels her country has and how important it is for women to be themselves and make the most out of life. In an interview with GMA Network, Pelissier stated that: Before coming here in the Philippines, I was really excited because from my mom’s side, I have Filipino blood, and since I was little, they used to tell me that I never lived with that side of the family, but I’m interested in learning about the culture and that’s why I’m happy to be here.

Crisostomo, who rooted for Pelissier to the very end, acknowledged the fact that Mittenaere came with the so-called “sash factor,” or weight in Miss Universe not normally possessed by or given to island-nations like Haiti, Aruba, Guam, Curacao, Cayman Islands, or even certain bigger countries in Africa, Central Asia, and parts of Latin America.

“France has sash factor in Miss Universe, while Haiti doesn’t,” he said. “Didn’t you notice that Haiti had more applause in the end compared to France and Colombia. Raquel (Pelissier) is not your conventional beauty. I thought that was what Miss Universe was looking for this year. I was really surprised she didn’t win.”

------------------------------

RELATED FROM VR PHILIPPINIES (BLOG)

Miss Universe 2016 to fly to New York on Thursday access_time 1-02-2017, 21:28 chat_bubble_outline 4 views


Newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere is set to fly to New York on Thursday afternoon, according to the Department of Tourism. Instagram.com/Iris Mittenaere

MANILA, Philippines — Newly crowned Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere is set to fly to New York on Thursday afternoon, according to the Department of Tourism.

Tourism Undersecretary Katherine De Castro will send off the second Miss Universe of France, Mittenaere, as she heads to the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, home of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO). She will be aboard Philippine Airlines.

On Wednesday, Mittenaere made a stop at the US Embassy in Manila. The 23-year-old French beauty was named Miss Universe 2016 on Monday morning at the Mall of Asia Arena.

She was crowned by her predecessor Pia Wurtzbach. With her win, Mittenaere will have a year-long salary from the MUO. She will also enjoy luxury accommodations in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign including living expenses.

The MUO said the titleholder will also be given tools to personally and professionally enrich others by providing humanitarian efforts to affect positive change, all while developing their personal career goals.

I'm dreaming... thank you @conradmanila thank you manila thank you France I love you all !!!

Thank you thank you thank you !! #france #missfrance #missuniverse #thankyou #conrad

A photo posted by Iris Mittenaere |Miss Universe (@irismittenaeremf) on Jan 29, 2017 at 9:21pm PST

 Mittenaere has not yet announced her return to her home country, France. RELATED: LIST: Perks, prizes won by Miss France at Miss Universe 2016


INQUIRER

Miss Canada proves body shamers wrong with her top 9 finish By: Marc Jayson Cayabyab - Reporter / @MJcayabyabINQINQUIRER.net / 01:37 PM January 31, 2017


INSTAGRAM POST:  45.7k likes 2,822 comments This is the generation of body diversity. This is the time we start working together to redefine the global vision of beauty. THANK YOU for every message, every comment and every story you have shared with me. 🙏🏻 I was proud to the point of tears to represent myself, my country, and the women of the world. I promise you, this is just the beginning.🇨🇦🙌🏻 #confidentlybeautiful #missuniverse #misscanada 1 DAY AGO

Faced with body shaming, Siera Bearchell of Canada said she has proven her critics wrong after her top nine finish at the 65th Miss Universe competition on Monday.

In an interview with reporters on the red carpet of the afterparty in Okada Manila, Bearchell was all praise for the new Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere from France who was crowned on Monday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

“She’s beautiful, she’s sweet. We’re all happy, because she’s friendly from the inside out,” Bearchell said.

READ: Healthy teeth is Iris Mittenaere’s advocacy as Miss Universe

She also took the time to address her bashers who subjected her to body shaming, supposedly because she was not as thin as the other Miss Universe candidates.

And because she finished at the top nine, Bearchell said she has proven her critics wrong.

READ MORE...

READ: Maxine Medina makes it to Miss Universe 2016 Top 9

“I am thankful for everyone. I’m so happy that everyone kind of jumped on board with my message. And I think it made a big difference. I’m so excited,” Bearchell said.

Bearchell has attracted the attention of the country’s own Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, who named her as one of her favorites.

“I love her face. Am I right? She’s beautiful,” Diaz said in an interview with ANC’s “Headstart.”

READ: Gloria Diaz reveals her top 5 bets for Miss Universe 2016

But the witty and frank former queen added with a caveat — “If Canada could lose 8 pounds.”


GLORIA DIAZ

Bearchell has taken to Instagram to promote her message that one only needed to redefine beauty to qualify as Miss Universe.

“This is the generation of body diversity. This is the time we start working together to redefine the global vision of beauty,” Bearchell wrote in an Instagram post after the coronation.

Bearchell even addressed a question from the press about how she feels like being “larger” than the other candidates.

“‘How does it feel to be so much.. larger than the other delegates?’ I was just asked this question in a press junket by a member of the media. I was left almost speechless,” Bearchell said in another Instagram post.

She said her answer to that question was: she felt great about body diversity.

“I thought, ‘How does it feel to be myself? How does it feel to be confident in who I am? How does it feel to fulfill my dream of representing Canada on the Miss Universe stage? How does it feel to be a role model for so many young women who struggle to find someone to look up to? How does it feel to redefine beauty?’ My answer – It feels great,” Bearchell said.

READ: Miss Canada Was Told She’s ‘Larger’ Than Other Miss Universe Candidates

Bearchell has been promoting the message of body diversity, true to the Miss Universe trademark slogan of being “confidently beautiful.”

“I have a vision to redefine beauty. I have a vision in which women around the world will recognize that true beauty, validation and self-worth start from within,” Bearchell wrote in another Instagram post.


Bearchell INSTAGRAM PHOTO: 10.2k likes 226 comments I have a vision to redefine beauty. I have a vision in which women around the world will recognize that true beauty, validation and self-worth start from within. I have a vision that regardless of our age, gender, race, background and personal views, we will support and encourage one another to be comfortable in our own skin. #confidentlybeautiful • If you are awake, LIVESTREAM the @missuniverse Preliminary Competition starting at 6am ET (5am SK 🌾) 🇨🇦🇵🇭 #missuniverse 6 DAYS AGO

She called out her detractors calling her fat and lazy that she is not insecure about redefining the standards of beauty anchored on body diversity, now one of the core values of the Miss Universe.

“I am secure and that’s what makes me beautiful. When you call me lazy, fat, and mediocre, what are you saying to the women of the world? Miss Universe is an organization built on the foundation of inclusion and diversity. It is no longer the ‘beauty pageant’ it used to be,” Bearchell said.

“The mission of Miss Universe is to provide the tools for women to reach their personal best and use those skills to serve others. That’s exactly what I am doing and I will not be brought down by shallow negativity. In fact, the negativity only fuels my fire to keep working on a platform that so evidently needs to be progressed. This journey has just begun,” she added.


INSTAGRAM: sierabearchell Verified: MISS CANADA -6,767 likes 282 comments I am secure and that's what makes me beautiful. 🙋🏻 When you call me lazy, fat, and mediocre, what are you saying to the women of the world? Miss Universe is an organization built on the foundation of inclusion and diversity. It is no longer the "beauty pageant" it used to be. The mission of Miss Universe is to provide the tools for women to reach their personal best and use those skills to serve others. That's exactly what I am doing and I will not be brought down by shallow negativity. In fact, the negativity only fuels my fire to keep working on a platform that so evidently needs to be progressed. This journey has just begun. ❤ #confidentlybeautiful

For the 65th tilt, the Miss Universe Organization brought in model, designer and body positivity activist Ashley Graham as backstage host. JE

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RELATED FROM GLOBAL NEWS ONLINE

Miss Universe Canada calls out body shamers: ‘This is not OK’ By Patricia Kozicka



Don’t mess with Miss Universe Canada Siera Bearchell.

The 23-year-old beauty pageant queen from Moose Jaw, Sask. is about to compete for the Miss Universe title in the Philippines, where she’s using her platform to speak out against critics who’ve bashed her 135-pound, 5’9″ tall figure.

The body shaming began last June after she won Miss Universe Canada in Toronto. She says the criticism was mostly on Instagram and Facebook.

“I had just run my first marathon so I was fit, I was in shape. And all the comments after I won were that I was fat, overweight,” Bearchell recalled Wednesday from her hotel in Manila.

“There were some people who said, ‘oh my gosh, is she pregnant?’ It was just unbelievable.”

People close to her urged her to lose weight, as well. They told her she had “everything it took to win the title” — the only thing standing in her way was her body.

“My body was the ‘problem’ I had to fix. I’m a law student, I ran a marathon, I’ve done work in my community [and] that’s the stuff people are saying? It’s a little frustrating, but then it just gave me a way bigger platform to say, this is not OK,” she told Global News.

“The standards society has for women is unacceptable and I will not stand by it.”

It’s similar to what Miss Iceland recently went through. As Global News reported in October, organizers of the Miss Grand International pageant told the 20-year-old to drop some weight. So she dropped out.

READ MORE: Miss Iceland quits international pageant in wake of fat-shaming

Bearchell thinks this body shaming sends a horrible message to young women who look up to her and read the comments on her Instagram posts.


So she took to Instagram last week to stress the importance of self-worth and self-love over weight.


‘I was running my body down’

It’s a shift in mentality from the pressure she used to put on herself.

Even though she’s always tried to prioritize health and fitness (she was a dancer for 13 years, and has a certification in yoga and SPIN), Bearchell admits there were times she used to restrict what she ate to hit a certain number on the scale.

She explains she was always the kid who “could eat whatever she wanted” without gaining weight. As she got older, her metabolism slowed down.

“So there were some days where I’d have a protein bar and I’d have half at one point, half at another point. And do hot yoga twice, go for a run. I was running my body down. I was miserable, exhausted.”


Pageant directors used to be tough on her weight, too. One even reportedly forced her to be photographed on a scale in an apparent attempt to shame her to shed pounds. She was also once told she wouldn’t place in a pageant if she didn’t slim down.

Looking back at it all, Bearchell says even when she thought she had the “pageant body,” she was never happy with herself because there was always something more she felt she could change.

She’s come to embrace that not only do our bodies change — which is “OK, and normal” — but everyone’s built differently. The exact same diet and workout regimen can yield completely different results for two women. Plus your weight doesn’t necessarily translate to how healthy and fit you are, she argues.

READ MORE: Here’s why the numbers on your scale don’t matter

“For me, beauty [now] means being confident with who you are.”

She knows it’s something women of all ages struggle with. It’s taken her 53-year-old mother three decades to adopt the self-love perspective. Despite being an aerobics instructor and a tiny woman, she too “always felt there was something more she could do to look better,” Bearchell says.

Only now is she “starting to accept who she is,” in part because of how her daughter has responded to body shamers.

“She’s inspired me throughout my life so now I’m doing the same hopefully for her.”


Bearchell herself has drawn strength from figures like Ashley Graham, who last year became the first plus-size model to land the cover for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition.

Graham is set to host this year’s Miss Universe pageant, which will take place Jan. 30.

The contestants have spent the past couple weeks touring the country and meeting with young women who are apparently “crazy” about the pageant.

“People know my first name, my favourite food, where I go to school,” Bearchell gushed. “People are parading in the streets with their own sashes on and pretend crowns. They have flags of every country. So it’s been far beyond what I’ve ever expected.”

She insists the “giving back” component is what drew her to pageantry at the age of 16, when she won the title of Miss Teen Saskatchewan.

Profits from the Watered Down Apparel company she co-founded help provide clean water to projects in Kenya, Ghana, Ethiopia and Haiti. Her titles have also given her the opportunity to build a school in Kenya.

“It’s more than just a beauty pageant.” With files from Marilisa Racco and Thomas Piller, Global News


INQUIRER

The Maxine Medina question: What is your favorite animal? ”My sister should have said Dove, it represents peace.  We reharsed it a million times." By: Vaughn Alviar - @inquirerdotnet 06:33 AM February 05, 2017


No matter what you say, she did the country well.—AFP

Dove,” my sister should have said. “It represents peace.”

The question was, “What is your favorite animal?” We’d rehearsed that answer a million times before pageant day, but she answered: “Pusa po, kasi po may nanganak sa harap ng bahay namin.”

True, but not deep enough. That was 10 years ago, she was 11, but her competitors had impressive answers. She didn’t make the cut.

Maxine Medina also didn’t come up with a strong enough answer to her Top 6 question, “What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?” (Translated into: “Ano ang pinakamakabuluhang naganap na pangyayaring nakita mo sa mundo sa loob ng sampung taon?”)

“In the last 10 years of being here in the world, I saw all the people bringing in one event like this in Miss Universe. It’s something big to us that we are one. As one nation, we are all together,” she said.

Aside from the obvious mistranslation, many other things came into play.

READ MORE...

I, for one, think the pressure—particularly the bashing—got to her head. Charlene Gonzalez didn’t encounter that much bullying in her time as host candidate, although her Top 6 answer also didn’t get her into the Top 3 in 1994.

The question given to Maxine was the hardest, too, as it required her to find a point in time that was both sublime and relatable. She had to treat the question as those questions of essence—like “What is the essence of being a woman?” or “of a chair?”

Obviously, she didn’t do it the Sushmita Sen way. But, the others had simply to opine.

We should understand the process, all in 30 seconds. Stop bashing her or, as many who’ve come to her support say, join the Binibining Pilipinas, make the cut, answer the question, win the Miss Universe Philippines title, make it all the way to the Top 6 at Miss Universe (preferably with the Philippines as venue, for the added pressure) and answer the question better. Thank you very much.

LOOKING BEYOND THE CANDIDATES

To handle the issue more constructively, we at Inquirer Super decided to look beyond the candidate and into the question, which is extremely relevant. Sans the time pressure, the collective gaze and the distress of the pageant, here’s how people answered:

“The biggest change I’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years is social media and how it (they?) transformed communication. We now have a platform to speak out in a manner so powerful, easy and free, thus empowering us both as creators and consumers of information. This empowerment, though, is both an honor and a responsibility. LOL. We now have the responsibility to self-regulate, so that in the process of speaking out we do not harm anybody, even ourselves. Because it is only when we achieve genuine self-discipline that we become truly self-empowered.” -Jap Marbella, “host ng grassroots pageants, where the real beauty queen dreams begin”

“Before, only birds were tweeting. Now, people do.” -Allyssa Ruazol, college student

“Kilay goals. Then people would leave it up to parlors and makeup artists to thread their eyebrows. Now people don’t leave their homes if they can’t make sure their eyebrows are ready—with a little trimming; shaping with the pencil and brush.” -Jessica Jean Marco, guilty

“The faster spread of information through technology. Although it has its downside, like fake news and propaganda, it helps us become aware of the issues and crises going on in the world, and it enables us to act and be part of a global nation. It also lets us connect to the people we love, people we look up to, and people who inspire us.” -Lui Milanes, Maxine Medina’s classmate who says, “We were in a school play together”

“The most significant change that I have seen in the past 10 years is that we were able to find ways to fight micronutrient deficiency and energy gap… Serious ba? Sige. The biggest, most significant change that I have seen within the past 10 years is, I can see that both women and the LGBT community have been given more opportunities, may it be with their talents, skills, in marriage. I think that’s one thing that we have to celebrate.” -Martin Jee Capuno, “catalyst of change, ambassador of goodwill”

“Wala akong maisip, biglaan naman… ’Yung binago ’yung design ng pera, kasi isinama niya ’yung nanay niya sa P500. Dapat ang isinama niya ay yung sa KKK, si Andres Bonifacio. Thank you.” -Jomel Salonga, good person

“Climate change has been tremendously felt all over the world in the past 10 years. Extreme weather events have become common. In fact, one of the strongest typhoons ever recorded occurred here in the Philippines. [Supertyphoon] ‘Yolanda’ claimed thousands of lives in the Visayas. We must support and take part in all the green initiatives to help the world heal as it progresses.” -Mary Karen Melicano, beauty-queen wannabe

“I think the biggest change I’ve seen in 10 years is the breakthrough on the internet, especially with social networking sites. In 10 years, it has instantly connected people from all over the world, made us aware, made us participate and made us internationally relevant. But it also made families divided, friendships broken; and it became an avenue to abuse life, thoughts and rights. Maraming salamat, Pilipinas!” -JP Bayang, pageant fan

“The most significant change that happened in the past 10 years is the change in the youth’s perspective when it comes to new trends in technology, innovations; and the choices made. I think that, when it comes to technology, they are so advanced, they have high aspirations. I think that’s the most significant change that has happened around us. That’s all, thank you.” -Dolly Jane Fregon, youth advocate

“Perspective. Everything that has happened in the past decade, the advancement, the setbacks, the successes and failures, it all became possible because of peoples’ perspectives. The attitude is to be more ‘social’ by using electronics, and staying away from gadgets has become more complex. Diversity is now more accepted than ever. We are slowly becoming more morphed, less binary; more technologically advanced and yet environmentally aware.” -Nirel Ortigas, odd child of the universe

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RELATED FROM MALAYA

A look at the new Miss Universe and Mrs. Grandma Universe By Jose D. Patao Jr. February 03, 2017


Photo from Agnes Jakosalem Wearing her sash and crown, Mrs. Grandma Universe 2017 Agnes Jakosalem was greeted by her family when she arrived at the Mactan Cebu International Airport on Sunday night. The 51-year-old grandma stood out among 14 other grandma candidates from other countries during the Mrs. Grandma Universe Pageant last January 22,2017 (Philippine Time) in Sofia, Bulgaria. Jakosalem has three children and one grandchild. ABS-CBN FILE

PIA Wurtzbach has already passed on the Miss Universe crown to Miss France Iris Mittenaere at the 65th Miss Universe Pageant successfully held at the MOA Arena last Monday morning and all eyes are now on the lovely Iris, who is only the second delegate from her country to win the coveted title.

Meanwhile, Agnes Padao Jakosalem, 51, from Consolacion, Cebu, will be feted today with a victory party at Icon Hotel in Quezon City for winning the Mrs. Grandma Universe 2017 title in Sofia, Bulgaria last January 21. Pageant Watch takes a look at these “universal” beauties:

Iris Mittenaere (pronounced ih-ris mi-te-ner) is a 23-year-old student who hails from Lille in northern France. She is in her fifth year of studies to obtain her degree in Dental Surgery. Before winning as Miss Universe, Iris said she hopes to advocate for dental care and oral hygiene. Of course, she will also campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness, the flagship advocacy of Miss Universe.

Iris has always been fond of extreme sports, travelling the world and cooking new French dishes, especially beef slow-cooked in red wine.

She describes herself as “fresh, funny and caring” and enjoys making others happy, such as when she volunteers at children’s charity organizations Bienvenue-Tongasoa and Les Bonnes Fées.

Iris is the second French to win as Miss Universe, more than 63 years after compatriot Christiane Martel won the second edition of the pageant in Long Beach, California in 1953. Her predecessor, Miss France 2015 Flora Coquerel, came close to winning the title last year. Coquerel made it to the top five; our very own Pia, of course, won.

Iris left Manila last Wednesday to move to New York City where she will live during her reign and become a spokesperson for various causes.

Today, meanwhile, newly crowned Mrs. Grandma Universe Agnes Padao Jakosalem will meet the press at a victory party at Icon Hotel.

A real estate broker who was born in Dapitan City, Zamboagan del Norte and presently residing in Consolacion, Cebu, Agnes has two sons and a daughter, and a 7-year-old granddaughter. She is active in Bukas Loob sa Diyos Community, a Catholic charismatic organization that helps the less fortunate.

Agnes bested 14 other grandmothers at the international pageant held at Montecito Hotel in Sofia, Bulgaria.

She was with Mary Rose Salubre, who won as Mrs. Classic Galaxy in the Classic category (for women above 40 without a grandchild), Mrs. Grandma Universe Philippine licesee Ovette Ricalde and pageant trainor Tatta Saguin.


RAPPLER.COM

PH's Maxine Medina at Miss Universe 2016 coronation See photos of Maxine at the big event! Rappler.com Published 5:17 PM, January 30, 2017 Updated 6:59 PM, January 30, 2017


JANUARY 31 -Maxine Medina, Miss Philippines 2016 answers her Top 6 Question on stage with Host, Steve Harvey during The 65th Miss Universe in Manila. HO/The Miss Universe Organization

MANILA, Philippines – After shining at the preliminaries, Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina gave it her all during the grand coronation on Monday, January 30.

Maxine made it to the Top 6 of the pageant, while France's Iris Mittenaere won the title of Miss Universe. (READ: Netizens answer Maxine Medina's question for Miss Universe)

Here are photos of Maxine during the swimsuit and evening gown segments!

READ MORE...


TOP 6 FINALIST. The Philippines' Maxine Medina is announced as a Top 6 finalist during the Miss Universe 2016 pageant. Photo from HO/The Miss Universe Organization


VYING FOR THE CROWN. The Top 9 finalists during the coronation. Photo from HO/The Miss Universe Organization

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RELATED FROM RAPPLER.COM

READ: All the answers from the Miss Universe 2016 QnA rounds Rappler.com Published 11:30 AM, January 30, 2017 Updated 2:18 AM, January 31, 2017 3 9K Twitter Reddit Email 9K

The candidates answer questions on Donald Trump, the global refugee crisis, and more, as well as more personal questions on failure and recovery. Check them all out here!


Photo from Miss Universe Organization

MANILA, Philippines – This year, the Top 6 candidates in the Miss Universe pageant took part in the question and answer portion.

Here's a look at what the judges asked them and what they said in response.

The contestants had 30 seconds to answer. The countries from Colombia, France, Thailand, and Haiti requested interpreters.

Question for Miss Philippines, Maxine Medina: What is the most significant change you've seen in the world in the last 10 years?

Answer: The last 10 years of being here in the world is that I saw all the people being in one event like this in Miss Universe, and it's something big to us that we are one, as one nation, we are all together.

Question for Miss Kenya, Mary Esther Were: 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?

Answer: Politics...let me just start again. 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.

Question for Miss Thailand, Chalita "Namtan" Suansane: Name a current or past world leader whom you admire and why.

Answer: Mabuhay, Philippines! For me that would be the king of Thailand. 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.

Question for Miss France, Iris Mittenaere: Given today's worldwide refugee crisis, do countries have an obligation to accept refugees, or do they have a right to close their borders?

Answer: 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.

Question for Miss Haiti, Raquel Pelissier: On January 21, an estimated 4.8 million people marched worldwide for human rights, women's rights, and other issues. If you were able to participate, what would you have been marching for?

Answer: 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, 6 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.

Question for Miss Colombia, Andrea Tovar: why do we believe violence is so prevalent in today's society and what can we do about it?

Answer: I come from a country that does have violence and this is my reference point. 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.

After the break, the top 3, candidates from Colombia, France, and Haiti, were announced, sealing Philippine bet Maxine Medina's top 6 finish.

All 3 participated in a final Q&A, and the 3 had to answer the same question: "Name something over the course of your life that you failed at, and tell us what you learned from that experience." All 3 used an interpreter.

Miss Colombia's answer: 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.

Miss France's answer: 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 I think this is a great first opportunity.

This answer did encounter some scrutiny on social media, as some social media users said that her original answer in French was different from the interpreter's translation. Celebrities (and siblings) Solenn Heussaff and Erwan Heussaff were among the ones who pointed this out online.

Miss Haiti's answer: About 7 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.

Recently, the questions at Miss Universe have touched on political and social issues. In 2015, Pia Wurtzbach answered a question about the US reopening military bases in the Philippines.

In 2015 as well, there were two Q&A rounds, one for the Top 5 and another for the Top 3.

The Miss Universe 2016 coronation night was held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Monday, January 30, with Miss France crowned the winner. – Rappler.com


YAHOO ASIA

Miss Universe Contestants Shattered the Pageant Dress Stereotype Yahoo Style Mikelle StreetYahoo StyleJanuary 30, 2017


Miss Universe contestant Iris Mittenaere, right, of France is crowned the 2017 winner by former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines during the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Jan. 30, 2017. (Photo: AFP)

More Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe gaffe stole the show during the 2016 Miss Universe competition. Yet for this year’s scandal-free event, the gowns (and, of course, the women wearing them) were a focal point of the night — which was good news for Marquis Bias, the stylist for the Miss Universe Organization.

So what made this year’s pageant fashion, which is typically overlooked, different than in the past? Contestants shifting away from wearing typical “pageant” looks (think voluminous tulle skirts with jewel-encrusted bodices in bright colors) and opting for more typical red carpet ready stunners.

Bias, who is a fan of the trend, says that the change is being brought on by the participants themselves and that IMG, which bought the organization in late 2015, has also been a proponent of the shift.

“Of course there’s still girls that are tried and true pageant girls, and their gowns are very of that inspiration, but I feel that a lot of the girls that are more successful in the evening gown competition are girls that choose gowns that could easily be seen on any red carpet,” Bias tells Yahoo Style.

Case in point: the dresses worn by the competition’s top nine finalists, especially those of Miss Kenya, Miss Thailand, and Miss Haiti. Of course, no one’s fashion was more emblematic of this trend than that of the crowned winner herself, Miss France, Iris Mittenaere.

READ MORE...

The dental surgery student, whose honesty during the Q&A section made her a shoo-in for the crown, dressed in a gold couture gown that reportedly took five months to make for the evening gown portion of the night. Yet, Bias admits that he “was just very excited to have a Miss France because it’s been 64 years, if I’m not mistaken, since Europe has had a winner.”

As a function of his role, Bias works with the crowned Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and Miss Universe throughout their respective reigns. “We often have Latin winners, which is wonderful; we’ve had several winners from Asia; we’ve had quite a few American winners; we’ve had some African winners as well; but we haven’t had a European winner in quite some time.”

Miss Universe 2016, Pia Wurtzbach, who’s from the Philippines where the competition took place and also collaborated with Bias, crowned her successor in a blue custom-designed Michael Cinco couture gown.

“She really just honestly left it up to him,” Bias said of the full-skirted design. “She has admired him for years and she was very adamant about having him create her final walk gown. She really just said that she wanted a strapless ball gown and left the rest up to him.”

The royal blue piece, which was one of three Cinco designs Wurtzbach wore for the weekend-long competition, was a stunner. Not only was it important in that Cinco is also Filipino, but the color was actually significant to Wurtzbach’s tenure too.

“She was crowned in a blue gown as well, and since then the color has been coined as Pia Blue,” Bias explains. “Throughout her reign she’s worn this same color blue a lot at pivotal moments in her career. She wore Pia blue when she was interviewed by Steve Harvey; she wore blue when she did her homecoming in the Philippines, and she really wanted that full circle moment in her reign of having the same Pia blue for her final walk gown.”

However, Cinco wasn’t the only designer who dressed the pageant queen for the weekend; there was also industry mainstay Sherri Hill.

“Ever since I was a kid growing up and watching pageants, you really weren’t anything if you weren’t wearing Sherri Hill,” Bias explains. “She’s of course been a sponsor at Miss Universe for many, many years and we’re so blessed to have her.” Wurtzbach wore multiple designs from the company while the Texas based-brand also created Miss USA’s preliminary and evening wear gowns.

And as for what the stylist is looking forward to throughout Miittenaere’s tenure? ”I’m excited for those French designers,” he confessed.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Different fashion mentality in Miss U For designers, it’s blood, sweat and tears. And for pageant fanatics, it’s one big fight Philippine Daily Inquirer3 Feb 2017—STORY BY CHECHE V. MORAL


Andrea Tovar of Colombia, Iris Mittenaere of France and Raquel Pelissier of Haiti, the top three at the 65th Miss Universe, chose similar nude-slash-champagne palettes for their red-carpetworthy looks on coronation night. Mittenaere was crowned in her beaded sheer dress.

Is the evening gown a beauty candidate wears in the pageant a deal maker or breaker? From the time of Margie Moran to the current reign of Maxine Medina, fashion designers have always known that what a candidate wears can make a difference. But designers are also aware, as Auggie Cordero says, that “your audience are not fashion editors. The mentality is different.”

@missyrabul If the dress is beautiful, it gives you confidence. If you see the other girls in dresses you feel are more beautiful than yours, that’s when your spirit gets affected. Your morale takes a nosedive.

“So it is big deal that a beauty pageant candidate wears a dress that would not only please the judges, but would also make her feel like the queen she wants to be,” says veteran fashion designer Auggie Cordero, who dressed Margie Moran throughout her Miss Universe bid in 1973.

Designing for a beauty pageant is a different mind-set, since you’re not only trying to bring out the best in the candidate but also aiming to impress judges and pageant aficionados, he adds.

“Your audience are not fashion editors,” he says. “The mentality is different. You’re being judged not solely on the fashion merits or the technical intricacies of the design. You have to think of the lighting, the stage. These things you need to research on.”

While Miss Universe judges this year were looking for a girl who was “confident and beautiful,” “someone with grace and style,” but also “natural… real and normal,” as they said in interviews before Miss France Iris Mittenaere was crowned 65th Miss Universe, one has to remember that it’s the looks that give the first impression. It’s a beauty pageant, after all.

They don’t get to show the world their smarts that impress judges behind the scenes unless they get past the beauty round. And whatever they wear could make or break their chances to win.

In the Philippines, where a majority of the population are pageant enthusiasts and fanatics, it’s both a blessing and a curse to be tasked to dress a candidate.

“It gets you mileage, so it’s good for a designer, especially now with social media,” Cordero notes. “But if the candidate loses, an entire nation of fans will crucify you.”
Fanatics|

In this year’s Miss Universe preliminaries, fashion insiders were satisfied with Philippine bet Maxine Medina’s evening gown and national costume, both designs of Rhett Eala.

Her fringed emerald dress with beaded bustier top hit the right notes, both from fashion and pageant perspectives. It wasn’t a typical pageant dress—not too flashy or overwrought—but still an eye pleaser, and also suited Medina, who’s a fashion model. It showed her poise and bearing.

Her national costume was similarly elegant and subdued, if not as dramatic and elaborate as eventual category winner, Miss Myanmar. Both Eala designs helped Medina clinch a spot in the top 13.


Auggie Cordero, fashion icon

Fanatics, used to over-thetop gowns, however, weren’t as impressed and proceeded to attack Eala on social media, forcing the designer to set his accounts on private mode. Eala and Medina’s other designer, Cherry Veric, made her dresses gratis. Eala made her 10 dresses to choose from.

When Moran competed in 1973, Cordero was given a P2,500 budget for her entire wardrobe for the pageant in Athens—and that included his talent and professional fee of about P1,500. “Even with prices at the time, you had to use your own money,” he says.

It was the designer who groomed Moran, who was one of his models, for Binibining Pilipinas. Like Eala and queen maker Renee Salud, Cordero was the shoo-in to design the local bet’s wardrobe, which in- cluded casual wear, a travel suit, cocktail dresses, long gowns, and an evening gown for the finals. Moran was crowned in Cordero’s slinky dress with a deep-V neckline and a huge flower detail on the left shoulder. Cordero didn’t fly to Greece to watch.

“Candidates now are so lucky because they’re afforded so many costume and dress changes. In Margie’s time, balikbayan boxes were unheard of. She had to fit her entire wardrobe in three or four suitcases,” says Cordero.

The Miss Universe look has evolved through the years. It used to be all figure-hugging and over-the-top.

Riyo Mori of Japan

But, Cordero notes, the contest has also chosen queens in more high-fashion looks, as evidenced in some previous winners, like Japan’s Riyo Mori in 2007 and Russia’s Oxana Fedorova in 2002. Both women wore Gucci from the runway collection—Fedorova donned a white flowy empire-cut dress, a complete counterpoint to the typical fit-and-flare pageant dress.

It’s unclear if the new Miss Universe management had anything to do with the shift in evening wear fashion this year, but last Monday’s finalists were mostly in Hollywood red-carpet-worthy, more high fashion dresses on finals night. (IMG, a talent management behemoth, which now owns Miss Universe, has a fashion arm in IMG-Models.)

In an interview with Yahoo, Miss Universe Organization stylist Marquis Bias said: “Of course there are still girls who are tried-and-true pageant girls, and their gowns are very of that inspiration. But I feel that a lot of the girls who are more successful in the evening gown competition are girls who choose gowns that could easily be seen on any red carpet.”

Mittenaere was crowned in a nude stretch tulle dress that was strategically beaded in silver and champagne crystals, reportedly by a Vietnamese designer.

Her runner-up, the 6-ft-tall Raquel Pelissier of Haiti, wore a gown in an almost similar treatment and color. Ditto for the Colombian second runner-up, Andrea Tovar, in a champagne strapless number with stiffened tiered skirt by her compatriot, Alfredo Barraza, who has also dressed previous Philippine bets.

Medina’s coronation night dress, a fit-and-flare number by Eala, hewed more to the pageant stereotype than the emerald dress did at the preliminaries.

The alternative, a shimmery red lace by Veric, was also of the same silhouette, and widely pleased fanatics when she wore it to the pre-pageant rehearsals on the eve of the finals. (See related story on lifestyle.inquirer.net: “Rhett Eala or Cherry Veric for Maxine? Last-minute suspense in Miss Universe.”)

Four decades ago, the politics behind the candidate’s dress wasn’t as toxic as it seems now, Cordero says.

The organizers merely told the designer what color or theme they were going for. The candidate, in turn, worked only with one designer, the one who groomed her.
“Look at Renee (Salud), he has a retinue of loyal girls,” he adds. “All the queens he made, they stood by him. It’s called decency.”

Well, that subject in itself is an entirely different story.

Your audience are not fashion editors. The mentality is different Auggie Cordero


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