Miss France beats Haiti and Colombia to clinch Miss Universe title

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Miss Universe candidate Iris Mittenaere of France waves to the audience after winning the title in the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. Miss France was crowned Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year's dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Miss Universe candidate Iris Mittenaere of France waves to the audience after winning the title in the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017.
Miss France was crowned Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year’s dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Miss France is the new Miss Universe.

Decked out in a gold-sequined gown, 24-year-old dental surgery student Iris Mittenaere beat 12 other finalists to take the crown. As Miss Universe, she will be campaigning for dental and oral care around the world.

“This sash is not only a sash,” said Mittenaere, who is from Northern France, in a Miss Universe interview after the pageant. “This is something to help people, to understand people.”

First and second runner-ups were Miss Haiti (Raquel Pelissier) and Miss Colombia (Andrea Tovar). The top finalists hailed from Kenya, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Phillippines, Canada, Brazil, France, Haiti, Thailand and the U.S.

Miss Universe candidates (L to R) Andrea Tovar of Colombia, Iris Mittenaere of France and Raquel Pelissier of Haiti stand on stage as they wait for the announcement of the winner during the finals of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. Miss France was crowned Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year's dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Miss Universe candidates (L to R) Andrea Tovar of Colombia, Iris Mittenaere of France and Raquel Pelissier of Haiti stand on stage as they wait for the announcement of the winner during the finals of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017.
Miss France was crowned Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year’s dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

The pageant changed its format this year; it had 12 instead of 13 finalists, and counted online votes from the Miss Universe app and Twitter.

This was the first time Sierra Leone entered the competition and was represented by Hawa Kamara, 2013 Miss West Africa. Miss Canada, Siera Bearchell, also made headlines for taking on trolls who body-shamed her for her size.

Miss Universe candidate Iris Mittenaere of France poses in her swimsuit on stage during the finals of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017. Miss France was crowned Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year's dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

Miss Universe candidate Iris Mittenaere of France poses in her swimsuit on stage during the finals of the Miss Universe pageant at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on January 30, 2017.
Miss France was crowned Miss Universe on January 30 in a glitzy spectacle free of last year’s dramatic mix-up but with a dash of political controversy as finalists touched on migration and other hot-button global issues. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

The annual pageant was held on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines. Host Steve Harvey joked on the show that he got the winner right this year, after last year’s snafu of getting it wrong. Rapper Flo Rida and R&B group Boys II Men provided entertainment.

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