While the Top 3 finalists of the 65th Miss Universe on Monday unquestionably exemplify the pageant’s objective to find the most “confidently beautiful” women in the world, the crowning of Europe’s Iris Mittenaere somewhat comes as a surprise on a very particular level.
Definitely, she is just as beautiful, graceful, eloquent and intelligent as Miss Colombia’s Andrea Tovar and Miss Haiti’s Raquel Pelisseir—presumably a perfect visual fit for the title, given her soft, feminine, enchanting and almost doll-like features—but in a pageant that since the Top 6 picks early in the competition demanded a keen awareness of current events, and a relevant appreciation and reaction to the world as we know it today, some may say that Miss France’s answer to the final question was fairly simple compared to the others.
Let us recall what they said. In answer to the question, “Name something over the course of your life that you failed at, and tell us what you learned from that experience,” Miss Colombia gave a very profound answer in citing “moments when [she]may not accept someone due to their differences… sexual preferences… and not being capable of accepting [what she believes to be]their error.” From these, the 23-year-old Industrial Design student said she came to learn to value other people’s principles besides her own.
Miss Haiti, on the other hand offered a very personal experience in surviving the devastating earthquake in her homeland in 2010. “I thought I was failing myself because I was not living my dreams—I was living day by day in that earthquake.” From there, the 25-year-old optometrist, who is currently part of a project to find a cure for blindness, said she learned to “choose to be a positive person” and to live her dreams again. In doing so, she found herself in the Miss Universe pageant.
In contrast, Miss France, through an interpreter, gave a story about failing to make it to a certain cut [later explaining at her press conference she meant “not making it to medical school” in her first year only to find a mistake was made the next few days]but learning to “try again and keep going.”
Now given that she had been asked during the Top 6 Q&A, if she believes nations have the right to close their doors in the midst of a worldwide refugee crisis; not to mention Miss Colombia having to explain why she believes violence is prevalent in the world today, and Miss Haiti, asked what rights she would march for following the overwhelming turnout of the women’s march in Washington following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, among other questions of international concern, one would think the judges and the Miss Universe organization would demand a more profound and socially relevant final answer from its would-be queen.
But as it turns out—at least from looking at this beautiful wide-eyed 23-year-old dentistry major who cooks a mean boeuf bourguignon and what she said to win the crown—while it is a pre-requisite for Miss Universe to be bright and well informed, what is essential at the end of the day is that she inspires everyday females. Teenaged girls and young women, who amid the chaos in the world, need someone to look up to who comforts them with simple words. To try again and keep going if you fail. In the bigger scheme of things, perhaps it is simplicity that will essentially bring back the world’s beauty someday.