Nearly three weeks after one of the pageant world's biggest mix-ups, the newly crowned Miss Universe is beginning her media tour. Twenty-six year-old Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, an actress and model from the Philippines, was eventually crowned after host Steve Harvey mistakenly first announced that Miss Colombia had won the 64th edition of the pageant, broadcast live on the US television network on 20 December 2015.
"I was happy with everything, with my performance. So, but when I was announced as the winner, of course I was happy, excited. I just couldn't believe it," Alonzo Wurtzbach said about having her runner's up place being corrected to the winner of Miss Universe.
The pageant ended with a gaff, after its first edition since the annual beauty show was thrust into controversy when then co-owner and US presidential candidate, Donald Trump, made disparaging remarks about immigrants. The Filipino-German actress and model born in Stuttgart and raised in Cagayan de Oro, was announced as runner-up to Miss Colombia, before Harvey announced to the audience that he had made a mistake.
"I was surprised because that's never happened before. But it's live television and people make mistakes − it's OK. Steve Harvey has apologised and I've accepted the apology. So everything is good," said Miss Universe.
Ariadna Gutierrez Arvalo, 21, of Sincelejo, Colombia, had already been crowned by Miss Universe of 2014, Paulina Vega of Barranquilla, Colombia, who was forced to remove the crown and give it to Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
Alonzo Wurtzbach said she is using the mishap to her advantage: "I feel like now that I have a lot of attention I can use that to get a broader reach for my causes. Now that I have their attention − let me tell you this, let me tell you that. So I think, if anything, it's going to help me reach out to more people."
During her reign she will focus on three platforms: HIV/Aids awareness, relief operations for places hit by natural disasters and cyber bullying. The win was not only a major boost for herself, but also her country.
"It's a big deal in the Philippines, we take pageants very seriously and it's been a while since we won at Miss Universe. The past few years we've always been landing in the top five so it's always 'almost made it'. But finally this year we got it. In the Philippines it's very competitive, pageants are very competitive. Especially for the one of Miss Universe. It took me three attempts in Miss Philippines to earn the sash for Miss Universe. And even longer in the Philippines they have been waiting a long time as well to see a Filipina be crowned. So I'm very proud, I've never been more proud. I can't wait to go back home and have my homecoming. I hear the stories and I see it on the internet on how big of an impact it made but I won't get a grasp of how big it is until I'm actually there to experience it for myself. I'm looking forward to that."
For the first time, viewers had a chance to vote on the winner, rating contestants in the swimwear, evening gown and interview competitions.