5 Things to Know About the New Miss Universe: France's Iris Mittenaere

Everything you need to know about the new Miss Universe, France's Iris Mittenaere, crowned Sunday night


Bonjour, Miss Universe!

Iris Mittenaere, from Lille, France, was crowned the newest Miss Universe on Sunday night, out of 85 other women competing for the honor. Here’s what you need to know about the 24-year-old beauty:

1. She’s studying dentistry

Mittenaere, who now lives in Paris, has spent the last five years working on her degree in dental surgery, and plans to use her platform to support better oral health.

2. She’s a great cook

Mittenaere loves cooking, and spends her free time trying out French specialties. The beauty pageant queen talked up her skills, and even invited host Steve Harvey to Paris for dinner (though he declined, joking he’s married!).

3. She’s the first Frenchwoman to win in over 60 years

Mittenaere was thrilled to bring home the crown. “I think France and Europe really need a Miss Universe,” she said after the show.

And she thinks her win will be a big boost to beauty pageants in her France. “French people will love it now and every year they will be watching Miss Universe,” she added.

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4. She believes countries should make their own decision regarding open borders — but she’s glad France has them

Given the current refugee crisis, Mittenaere was asked whether countries should have open borders during the question and answer session.

“The country should have the right to open or close their borders,” she said. “In Europe we have open borders. In France we have the most globalization that we can, we want to have the biggest exchange of people that we can. Maybe someday that will change, but now we have open borders.”

“Having open borders allows us to travel more to the world and to find out more about what’s out there in the world.”

5. She works with aid charities that help orphans and sick children

Mittenaere regularly volunteers with Bienvenue-Tongasoa, a France-based charity that supports an orphanage in Madagascar, and provides the children with an education, health care, housing and college scholarships. She is also part of Les Bonnes Fées, an organization of 14 current and former Miss France winners who help the disadvantaged and ill in the country.

“This association aims to raise people’s awareness of mutual aid by adopting a way of life based on generosity, respect and listening to others,” the website states.

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