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Miss Universe 2016

Miss Universe 2016, the 65th Miss Universe pageant, was held on 30 January 2017[a] at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines crowned her successor Iris Mittenaere of France by the end of the event.[8][9] This is the second time in the history of the competition that the pageant skipped the entire year, following the 2014 pageant which was held in January 2015.

Miss Universe 2016
Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere press conference (cropped).jpg
Iris Mittenaere, Miss Universe 2016
Date30 January 2017[a]
VenueMall of Asia Arena, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines[4]
Official broadcaster:
WinnerIris Mittenaere
CongenialityJenny Kim
Best National CostumeHtet Htet Htun
PhotogenicLindita Idrizi
← 2015
2017 →

France's victory ended the country's 63-year title drought, the longest in Miss Universe history.[10] Mittenaere was the first European Miss Universe to serve a full term in 26 years, the last being Norway's Mona Grudt who was Miss Universe 1990, and the first European to win the title outright since Russia's Oxana Fedorova who became Miss Universe 2002 before being dethroned four months later.



The agreement to host the pageant in the Philippines was signed on November 16, 2016. This agreement, made between the Miss Universe Organization, the Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) and the LCS Group of Companies, was the result of negotiations that began about four months earlier.[11][12]

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach on a courtesy call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Discussions began on July 18, 2016, when Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Although Duterte was open to the idea of having the pageant hosted by the Philippines, he did not want the government to pay the expense of doing so (but a government spokesperson later said that some "services" would be provided for the event).[13][14] About two weeks after the meeting, the Department of Tourism announced that the Philippines would be the host. A spokesperson for the Department said that, according to Miss Universe Organization president Paula Shugart, the Philippines was the organization's prime choice for hosting the pageant, although other countries were being considered.[14]

Despite the statement made by the Department of Tourism, the final decision to hold the pageant in the Philippines had not yet been made and, over the next few months, the Miss Universe Organization had changed its mind several times on the matter. Initial reports did not disclose the reasons for the breakdowns in negotiations, but a later report linked the Organization's concerns with Duterte's controversial remarks regarding U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as his plans to separate ties between the Philippines and the United States. These statements were not received well by the William Morris Entertainment/International Marketing Group (WME), the owners of the Miss Universe franchise. Duterte's statement that he would be glad to kill as many drug addicts as Adolf Hitler killed Jews during the Holocaust led to WME executive Ziv Emanuel (brother of Rahm Emanuel) to cancel the talks. Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson, who was also chairman of the LCS Group, sent representatives, including some Jewish friends, to the United States to persuade Emanuel to maintain his interest in a Philippines-hosted event. Duterte's later apology for his Holocaust-related remark helped in the renegotiation. Also helpful was Singson's offer to add women-empowerment programs to the pageant.[15][16]

The Miss Universe Organization's final decision came on November 3, 2016, when Wurtzbach announced via a video message that the Philippines would be the host.[11][17] The partnership agreement was signed on November 16 and, on that same day, the pageant's official website and Facebook page were launched.[11][12]

Main venueEdit

The Mall of Asia Arena, the venue of the coronation night of Miss Universe 2016.

In September 2016, the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay was announced to be the main coronation venue of the pageant according to the Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo.[18] The Philippine Arena in Santa Maria and Bocaue, Bulacan was the other venue considered by the Department of Tourism as the main coronation venue of the pageant, but the Miss Universe Organization disapproved of the venue due to "security reasons".[19][20]

Other aspectsEdit

The funds needed to stage the pageant in the country came entirely from private businesses. Among the reported sponsors were Philippine Airlines, the SM Group, Solar Entertainment, Filipino billionaire Henry Sy and Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada. The Okada Manila would serve as the residential venue for the Miss Universe 2016 candidates. The projected expense for the event was US$11 million.[19][21]

The candidates were expected to arrive on January 13, 2017. The Philippine military were assigned by the Philippines national security council to serves as security escorts.[22]

A reality-documentary television program entitled Journey to the Crown: A Celebration of Beauty was shown on ETC on November 6, 2016 in the Philippines as part of marketing of the pageant.[17]



Final placements for Miss Universe 2016:
  Miss Universe 2016
  1st Runner-up
  2nd Runner-up
  Top 6
  Top 9
  Top 13
Final results Contestant
Miss Universe 2016
1st Runner-Up
2nd Runner-Up
Top 6
Top 9
Top 13

§ Voted into the Top 13 by viewers


Kick-off eventEdit

Conrad Manila, the venue of the kick-off event

A kick-off party was hosted on December 9, 2016 at Conrad Manila, a hotel in Pasay, marking the beginning of the pageant.[23][24] Eleven contestants from Asia Pacific were in attendance for the event. They were:[23]

Ancillary and other eventsEdit

Alongside with the main pageant, ancillary events were held which has no effect on the contestants' total pageant score. The contestants were scheduled to participate in fashion shows in Davao, Cebu, and Vigan. Each venue had a theme; Mindanao fabric for Davao, beachwear for Cebu, and terno for Vigan. The contestants partook in a different event in Bicol.[25]

On December 13, 2016, some of the pageant's candidates had a photoshoot with whale sharks in Oslob, Cebu. This activity was criticized by Greenpeace Southeast Asia, Marine Wildlife Watch, and other wildlife conservationist groups in the Philippines who discourage human interaction with the whale sharks, as they are considered endangered species.[26] The Department of Tourism (DOT) said that there were only five candidates present and the activity was an occular inspection. Following criticisms, the DOT is considering to do the whale watching activity for the final show in Donsol, Sorsogon instead.[27]

On December 14, 2016, the DOT cancelled the fashion show originally scheduled on January 19, 2017 at the SMX Convention Center in Davao City to prevent further "controversy" following the claim of local-based designers led by the Davao Fashion and Design Council Foundation, Inc. (DFDCFI) that they have been "brushed off" by the pageant organizers. The group claimed that they were never consulted and questioned why they were asked to dress up local models instead of being in charge of pre-show cocktail of the main event which is tasked to non-Mindanaoan designer, Renee Salud. Following the cancellation announcement, the DFDCFI said that they respect the decision but urged the organizers that Davao City to remain as one of the places to be visited by the candidates.[28] On December 22, 2016, it was announced that the fashion show will push through after Salud and the DFDCFI cleared their misunderstandings and decided to help each other.[29]

The national costume show was done on January 27, 2017 which had no bearing on the preliminary scores.[30]

Preliminary competitionEdit

At the Mall of Asia Arena, all 86 contestants competed in swimwear and evening gown in front of a panel of preliminary judges. The scores from the night's event along with an interview portion determine the Top 13 during the Miss Universe broadcast. The Preliminary Competition was hosted by Pia Wurtzbach and Filipino-British actor Derek Ramsay.[31]


Final programEdit

The pageant program was initially announced to start at 5:00 a.m. (UTC+08:00) but it was later announced that the program was to run from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.[35]

Solar Entertainment, one of the pageant's partners, was tasked to provide broadcast coverage of the competition in the Philippines.[36] In December 2016, TV5,[37] GMA Network[38] and ABS-CBN[39] secured rights to air live coverage of the pageant. Earlier in November it was reported that "all local networks" including GMA Network, TV5 and ABS-CBN will broadcast the pageant upon the request of President Rodrigo Duterte.[35]

Additionally, TV5 had exclusive rights to air the preliminary event[40] as well as exclusive Philippine digital rights. TV5 posted behind the scenes content on their online TV5 studio[41]


Steve Harvey returned as host this year

American presenter Steve Harvey has a five year contract with the Miss Universe Organization for hosting the Miss Universe pageant. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed hesitation on Harvey hosting the event due to Harvey announcing the wrong winner at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant. In response, Philippine Department of Tourism head, Secretary Wanda Teo proposed the idea of having a Filipino woman co-host the event to neutralize the president's displeasure.[42] On November 3, 2016, Harvey was confirmed to return as host.[17]

American model Ashley Graham served as the backstage host.[43][44]


Judge panel of Miss Universe 2016.


American entertainers Flo Rida and Boyz II Men were the musical performers at the final program of the pageant.[45][46]


Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere greets fans in a press conference held after the event.

The twelve women who garnered the highest scores following the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown competition held on January 26 and the subsequent closed door interviews, were named as part of the Top 13. The 13th candidate, Chalita Suansane of Thailand, was determined through online voting results.[47] After the swimsuit presentation from the 13 remaining candidates, nine candidates were selected with the highest garnered average score from the judges and the global online vote.[48]

Three were then eliminated and the Top 6 candidates proceeded to the question-and-answer portion, where they were asked questions regarding international or their country's affairs.[49][50] The candidates of France, Colombia and Thailand used a language interpreter. The final three was then announced and all were asked the same question; They were asked regarding a failure over the course of their life and how they dealt with it. Miss France was announced as Miss Universe 2016.[51]

Best National CostumeEdit

During the final program, the winner of the National Costume Show held on January 27, 2016 was announced. Miss Myanmar, Htet Htet Htun, was awarded the Best National Costume. Her costume, which weighed 40 kilograms (88 lb), featured the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Bagan temples, which she says represents the princess of figures of Myanmar traditional puppetry.[52]

After partyEdit

An after party event was held at the Okada Manila hotel. During this event, Jenny Kim of Korea was given the Miss Congeniality award while Lindita Idrizi of Albania was given the Miss Photogenic award. The awards were not announced during the final program due to lack of time.[53]


86 contestants competed for the title of Miss Universe 2016:[54]

Country/Territory Contestant Age Height Hometown
  Albania Lindita Idrizi 20 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Elbasan
  Angola Luísa Baptista 21 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Cuando Cubango
  Argentina Estefanía Bernal 21 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Buenos Aires
  Aruba Charlene Leslie 24 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Oranjestad
  Australia Caris Tiivel 23 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Perth
  Austria Dajana Dzinic 21 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Vienna
  Bahamas Cherell Williamson 24 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) Nassau
  Barbados Shannon Harris 22 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Bridgetown
  Belgium Stephanie Geldhof[replacements 1] 19 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Aalst
  Belize Rebecca Rath 23 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Dangriga
  Bolivia Antonella Moscatelli[replacements 2] 21 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Santa Cruz
  Brazil Raissa Santana 21 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Umuarama
  British Virgin Islands Erika Creque 22 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Road Town
  Bulgaria Violina Ancheva 21 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Sofia
  Canada Siera Bearchell 23 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Moose Jaw
  Cayman Islands Monyque Brooks 25 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) West Bay
  Chile Catalina Cáceres 26 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Santiago
  China Li Zhenying 21 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Shanghai
  Colombia Andrea Tovar 23 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Quibdó
  Costa Rica Carolina Rodríguez 27 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Alajuela
  Croatia Barbara Filipović 19 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Zagreb
  Curaçao Chanelle de Lau 21 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Willemstad
  Czech Republic Andrea Bezděková 21 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Prague
  Denmark Christina Mikkelsen 24 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Copenhagen
  Dominican Republic Rosalba Garcías 24 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Maimón
  Ecuador Connie Jiménez 21 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Ventanas
  Finland Shirly Karvinen 24 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Helsinki
  France Iris Mittenaere[55] 24 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Lille
  Georgia Nuka Karalashvili 25 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)[56] Tbilisi
  Germany Johanna Acs 24 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Eschweiler
  Great Britain Jaime-Lee Faulkner 27 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Sheffield
  Guam Muñeka Taisipic 19 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Yona
  Guatemala Virginia Argueta 22 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Jutiapa
  Guyana Soyini Fraser 26 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Georgetown
  Haiti Raquel Pélissier[57] 25 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Port-au-Prince
  Honduras Sirey Moran 26 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) El Progreso
  Hungary Veronika Bodizs 24 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Budapest
  Iceland Hildur María Leifsdóttir 24 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Kópavogur
  India Roshmitha Harimurthy 22 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Bangalore
  Indonesia Kezia Warouw 25 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) Manado
  Israel Yam Kaspers Anshel 19 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Herzliya
  Italy Sophia Sergio 24 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) Naples
  Jamaica Isabel Dalley 20 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) Montego Bay
  Japan Sari Nakazawa 23 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Shiga
  Kazakhstan Darina Kulsitova[replacements 3] 19 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Semey
  Kenya Mary Esther Were 27 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Nairobi
  Korea Jenny Kim[replacements 4] 23 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Seoul
  Kosovo Camila Barraza 23 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Pristina
  Malaysia Kiran Jassal 20 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Subang Jaya
  Maldives Bella Olessya Vargas 18 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) La Rioja[disambiguation needed]
  Malta Martha Fenech 26 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) St. Julian's
  Mauritius Kushboo Ramnawaj[replacements 5] 26 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Rivière Du Poste
  Mexico Kristal Silva 25 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Ciudad Victoria
  Myanmar Htet Htet Htun 24 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Yangon
  Namibia Lizelle Esterhuizen 20 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) Windhoek
  Netherlands Zoey Ivory 23 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Almere
  New Zealand Tania Dawson 24 5 ft 5 in (165 cm) Auckland
  Nicaragua Marina Jacoby 21 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Matagalpa
  Nigeria Unoaku Anyadike[designations 1] 22 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) Lagos
  Norway Christina Waage 21 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Nes
  Panama Keity Drennan[designations 2] 26 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Panama City
  Paraguay Andrea Melgarejo 22 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Villarrica
  Peru Valeria Piazza 26 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Lima
  Philippines Maxine Medina 26 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Quezon City
  Poland Izabella Krzan 21 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Olsztyn
  Portugal Flávia Brito 23 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Vilamoura
  Puerto Rico Brenda Jiménez[replacements 6] 22 5 ft 10 in (178 cm) Aguadilla
  Romania Teodora Dan[designations 3] 27 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Bucharest
  Russia Yuliana Korolkova[replacements 7] 22 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Orsk
  Sierra Leone Hawa Kamara 26 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Freetown
  Singapore Cheryl Chou 20 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) Singapore
  Slovakia Zuzana Kollárová 25 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Bratislava
  Slovenia Lucija Potočnik 25 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Maribor
  South Africa Ntandoyenkosi Kunene 24 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Mkhondo
  Spain Noelia Freire 24 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Ciudad Real
  Sri Lanka Jayathi De Silva 26 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Colombo
  Sweden Ida Ovmar 21 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Luleå
  Switzerland Dijana Cvijetić[designations 4] 23 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Gossau
  Tanzania Jihan Dimachk 20 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Dar es Salaam
  Thailand Chalita Suansane 22 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Samut Prakan
  Turkey Tansu Sila Çakir 21 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Istanbul
  Ukraine Alena Spodynyuk 19 5 ft 11 in (180 cm) Kiev
  Uruguay Magdalena Cohendet 22 5 ft 8 in (173 cm) Artigas
  United States Deshauna Barber 27 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Washington, D.C.
  US Virgin Islands Carolyn Carter[designations 5] 27 5 ft 7 in (170 cm) Saint Croix
  Venezuela Mariam Habach 21 6 ft 0 in (183 cm) El Tocuyo
  Vietnam Đặng Thị Lệ Hằng[designations 6] 23 5 ft 9 in (175 cm) Đà Nẵng


  1. ^ a b The event was held at 8:00 am Philippine Standard Time (UTC+08:00); for the Americas, this was January 29 in their local times.[1]


  1. ^ NIGERIA — Unoaku Anyadike MBGN 2015 was appointed to compete at Miss Universe 2016 by Silverbird Group, the license holder for Miss Universe in Nigeria after MBGN 2016 pageant was cancelled because of economic recession plaguing the country. Anyadike was crowned MBGN 2015 and was sent to Miss World 2015.
  2. ^ PANAMA — Keity Drennan was appointed Señorita Panamá 2016 at a small ceremony organized by Justine Pasek and Cesar Anel Rodríguez, the national directors of the Señorita Panamá pageant, after they were appointed the new franchise holders for Miss Universe in Panama. Previously, Medcom Corporation, under the direction of Marisela Moreno, held the franchise for Miss Universe in Panama.[citation needed]
  3. ^ ROMANIA — Teodora Dan was appointed as "Miss Universe Romania 2016" after a casting call was held by the national director Ernest Hadrian Böhm, who obtained the franchise license of Miss Universe in Romania.[60]
  4. ^ SWITZERLAND — Dijana Cvijetić was appointed Miss Universe Switzerland 2016 by Veeranda Aeberli, the new national director of the Miss Universe Switzerland pageant, because of a lack of time to hold the country pageant. Previously, François Matthey held the franchise for Miss Universe in Switzerland.[citation needed]
  5. ^ U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Carolyn Carter was chosen as Miss Universe US Virgin Islands 2016 by Tom Youth, the national director of the Miss Universe US Virgin Islands pageant.[citation needed]
  6. ^ VIETNAM — Dang Thi Le Hang was appointed Miss Universe Vietnam 2016 by Tony Nguyen Quoc Toan, the national director of the Miss Universe Vietnam pageant. Dang was the 2nd runner-up at the 2015 Miss Universe Vietnam pageant.[citation needed]


  1. ^ BELGIUM — Stephanie Geldhof was appointed to compete at Miss Universe 2016 by Darline Devos, the President of the Miss Belgium pageant, as a replacement to Lenty Frans, Miss Belgium 2016, who will only compete at the Miss World 2016 pageant due to conflicting schedules with the Miss Belgium 2017 pageant slated for early January 2017. Geldhof was the 1st runner-up at the Miss Belgium 2016 pageant.[citation needed]
  2. ^ BOLIVIA — Paula Schneider was crowned Miss Bolivia Universo 2015 and was entitled to compete at the Miss Universe 2016 pageant; however, Schneider resigned in January 2016 citing personal reasons.[citation needed] Antonella Moscatelli, Miss Bolivia Universo 2016, replaced Schneider as Bolivia’s representative at the 2016 Miss Universe pageant.
  3. ^ KAZAKHSTAN — Darina Kulsitova was appointed to compete at Miss Universe 2016 by the Miss Kazakhstan Organization after the original winner of Miss Kazakhstan 2015, Regina Valter was disqualified after getting married. The announcement was made a day before the contestants would officially start arriving in the Philippines. Darina previously competed at the Miss Kazakhstan 2014 national pageant.
  4. ^ KOREA — Jenny Kim was appointed to compete at Miss Universe 2016 by Park Jeong-ah, the national director of the Miss Universe Korea pageant and also the new franchise holder for Miss Universe in Korea. Kim replaces Min-ji Lee, Mission Korea 2015, who would not compete at the Miss Universe 2016 pageant after Hanju E&M, the organizers of the Miss Korea pageant, lost the Miss Universe franchise. Coincidentally, Park Jeong-ah also holds the franchise for Miss World in Korea, and Kim was the 1st runner-up at the Miss World Korea 2015 pageant.[citation needed]
  5. ^ MAURITIUS — Kushboo Ramnawaj was handpicked to represent Mauritius at Miss Universe 2016 by Nevin Rupear, the national director of the Estrella Mauritius Organisation, after he was appointed the new franchise holder for Miss Universe in Mauritius. Ramnawaj replaces Danika Atchia, Miss Mauritius 2015, who was crowned by the previous franchise holder Primerose Obeegadoo and would have represented Mauritius at Miss Universe 2016 otherwise. Ramnawaj was apparently crowned Miss Mauritius 2014 and was supposed to compete at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant but was replaced because of a disagreement with the former franchise holder.[58]
  6. ^ PUERTO RICO — Brenda Jimenez was crowned as the new Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 by Desiree Lowry, the national director of the Miss Universe Puerto Rico pageant, after Kristhielee Caride, the original winner, was dethroned due to her dismissive behaviour.[59] Later, Caride challenged her dethronement in court, which ruled against her. Jiménez represented the municipality of Aguadilla at Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2016 and was the 1st runner-up at the pageant.[citation needed]
  7. ^ RUSSIA — Yuliana Korolkova was appointed Miss Universe Russia 2016 by the Miss Russia Organization as a replacement to Yana Dobrovolskaya, the winner of the Miss Russia 2016 pageant, who will compete only at Miss World 2016 due to the conflicting schedules of the two international pageants. The winner of the Miss Russia pageant usually participates at both Miss Universe and Miss World pageants. Korolkova represented Orenburg Oblast at Miss Russia 2016 and was the 1st runner-up at the pageant.[61]



  •   El Salvador — Due to internal problems with the local franchise, Miss El Salvador 2016 has been canceled.[62]
  •   Gabon — No national pageant held.
  •   Ghana — No national pageant held after RAC (Roberta Annan Consulting), the former license holder in Ghana, parted away with the organization.[63]
  •   Ireland — Due to internal problems with the local franchise. Miss Universe Ireland 2016 was canceled.[64]
  •   Lebanon — Renewal of franchise holder and decided to withdraw.[64]
  •   Montenegro — Contestant chosen but no plans to compete, possibilities that the local franchise has returned the license to the organization.[64]
  •   Serbia — Contestant chosen but no plans to compete, possibilities that the local franchise has returned the license to the organization.[64]




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