The echoes of cheering and clapping begin to fade for now as the 65th Miss Universe pageant is done. Miss France, the lovely Iris Mittenaere, was crowned and we're all still proud and thankful for our own contender, Miss Philippines, Maxine Medina, who made it to the final six and the question and answer round. Here are 10 of the most memorable moments:
1. We remember how Maxine Medina looked super stunning, especially in that swimsuit round! In the preliminaries prior to the actual competition, Maxine reportedly did a playful 360-degree whip of a turn in this exact swimsuit, proof that she was actually confident of how it looked on her.
2. Miss Kenya's uncanny answer to the political question regarding POTUS, Donald Trump. Miss Kenya, Mary Esther, does admit that the political question took her by surprise (check out her answer here), but she graciously feels she composed herself and answered as best as she could right in the moment despite not expecting a political question to arise.
3. Steve Harvey receiving a pair of glasses from Miss Universe 2015, Pia Wurtzbach, as an endearing token of reassurance. It was the joke everyone knew was coming. Throughout the entire pageant, Steve Harvey made sour, nearly bitter comic reactions on almost every announcement card handed to him. We can only imagine his agony, after last year's winning announcement fumble in which he announced the wrong winner (which he handled with much humility). Prior to the final winning announcement this time, a stunning, then reigning Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach gently handed him a pair of glasses to supposedly "reassure" him. It was a lighthearted, funny moment.
4. Former Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen, inspires with her warm and articulate wisdom as a judge even outside the event. It was moving to hear how prior to the competition Sushmita Sen felt to be judging contestants she could completely relate to given that she herself was a Miss Universe contender once, in 1994, where she took home the crown. In the video below outside the event, she mentions to press people that she would personally prefer to be a contestant rather than a judge.
5. The cheers and chats go on for fan fave, Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar. We've overheard guy friends and even a mother or two saying they'd like to be a friend to hands-down heartthrob, Miss Colombia, Andrea Tovar, with her bubbly nature, love for children and dancing plus her beautiful eyes and smile. She didn't quite make it at the end after the question and answer portion, but we still admire her for giving it her best.
6. Some of the Miss Universe candidates' mind-blown reactions upon trying balut. One of the most famous, somewhat fearful, food challenges for foreign newcomers to the Philippines is sampling a balut egg, which is an unborn duckling egg. Here, a couple of the Miss Universe contestants bravely face this exotic delicacy.
7. We won't forget how crowned Miss Universe winner, Iris Mittenaere, remained calm and thoughtful while processing her question in the finals and in the end delivered a simple, well thought-out answer. Iris simply nailed the question and answer segment, tipping the scale and hitting the mark on how one deals with failure. She gave her answer gently yet in a confident manner bereft of any nervous vibe we may not have detected. There was also already gratitude present in her answer and hence her attitude and state of mind were immediately an inspiration. There's also something about that romantic French language delivering soft-spoken truth to an audience. Indeed, sometimes the simplest, most relaxed, less grandiose answers can truly deliver.
8. Pia Wurtzbach's swanky exit with Flo Rida. You know that portion of lyric "I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave." This scene may not totally hit the mark in terms of context but it does kinda make sense. How glam can you get when ending your Miss Universe reign?
9. When the Miss Universe ladies wore the Filipiniana terno in a Miss Universe event in Vigan. It's one thing to see all these international beauties in their own costumes or formalwear, but to see them in our native Filipiniana attire is something totally fresh and unexpected. They were absolutely stunning in Vigan when they each put on a glamorously different version of a terno gown.
10. Last but not the least, France's crowning moment, of course, the crowning of Miss Universe 2016, Iris Mittenaere. It's the moment we're sure they wish they could rehearse crying for. Nobody wants to cry way too excessively in their winning moment and ruin all poise, but Iris lacks none even in her most emotional moment. She is stunned yet full of grace and we extend our heartiest congratulations. Liberte egalite fraternite! Viva la France!
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Photographs from the Miss Universe YouTube channel (screencaps), the official Miss Universe Facebook page, gt9ja.com, and Instagram.com/sushmitasen47