Iris Mittenaere was Miss France 2016 and then went on to become Miss Universe 2016!
Mittenaere had her heart set on her advocacy right after she was declared Miss Universe. When asked by a reporter about her advocacy, she mentioned that she'll be a "dentist in two years" and that she's involved in a charity that "teaches children to eat properly." She went beyond her current efforts as Miss Universe.
Education for children, especially for young women, was also a top priority on her list.
"I have the chance to live in France and to go to school every morning. And I think every children should have this chance," she said in a press conference right after coronation night.
In her profile on the Miss Universe website, the then 23-year-old aspiring dentist revealed that she would advocate for dental and oral hygiene if she were to win the crown. She is also a volunteer for two charities in France: Bienvenue-Tongasoa and Les Bonnes Fées.
Mittenaere's victory as Miss Universe signaled the end of the 63-year Miss Universe title drought for France. The last French woman to bag the title was Christiane Martel in 1953. This is also a welcome change for Europe since it had been more than 20 years since Mona Grudt of Norway won Miss Universe 1990.
"I think France and Europe really need a Miss Universe because there was a lot of time they didn't have. French people love beauty pageants. But they don't really know Miss Universe because we never win," Mittenaere explained to the press.
In the Miss Universe after-party, she told the press that she would like to go back to France to "show this crown to the French people."
Iris is a beautiful lady with a solid grasp of her advocacy. The judges surely made the right decision.
Update October 5, 2019
Though her reign has completed, Iris is still staying extremely busy! On February 3, 2019, Iris Mittenaere was on the judging panel of Top Model Belgium 2019 and was the guest star in Jean-Paul Gaultier's Fashion Freak Show. From May 2019 to January 2020, she is a vedette in choreographer Kamel Ouali's L' Oiseau Paradis new revue at the Paradis Latin.
In Forbes France’s Summer 2019 issue, Iris Mittenaere was interviewed and placed in France’s top 5 of digital influencers on the 2019 list.
JUNE 2017 UPDATE
The internet is buzzing with the news that Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere is newly single!
The queen of the universe has recently split from her long-time boyfriend, Matthieu Declercq. Her ex-boyfriend is a dentist and the two bonded over their mutual love of travel and soccer. He was even in the Philippines when Mittenaere won the coveted Miss Universe crown.
The couple had been dating for four years until very recently. Iris said in an interview, "I thought that if love is strong, it may be able to survive these trials." She has not revealed why the pair split after a long time together but that is not entirely surprising as they were always more private about their relationship.
Although we are not sure exactly when the two went their separate ways, we do know that she is in a good place about it now. Yesterday, Mittenaere was quoted saying, "It is only now that I am better. . . Now I am relieved."
It is thought that the breakup stemmed from Iris' move to New York City to live in the Miss Universe apartment and the distance between them. With her travel schedule and new living arrangements, it must have been hard to maintain a relationship and her responsibilities as Miss Universe.
Although the end of a relationship can be tough, Mittenaere seemed to be in good spirits during a recent interview when she said, "I would like to meet someone who loves me and can love for decades." Does this mean that the queen is ready to move on and search for love again?
We are happy that Iris is in a good place and wish her all the best for the rest of her reign!