Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach's message
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 crowned after host Steve Harvey mistakenly first announced that Miss Colombia had won the 64th edition of the pageant, broadcast live on the Fox television network on December 20, 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 being named the first runner-up.
The pageant ended with a gaff, after its first edition since the annual beauty show was thrust into controversy when then co-owner and U.S. 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 apologized 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 boarder 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.
"It's a big deal in the Philippians, we take pageants very seriously and it's been awhile 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 Philippians it's very competitive, pageants are very competitive. Especially for the one of Miss Universe. It took me three attempts in Miss Philippians to earn the sash for Miss Universe. And even longer in the Philippians 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.
Until recently, the pageant was co-owned by Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal and Trump, who is leading national polls in the 2016 Republican presidential nomination race.
Earlier, Trump's remarks about Mexicans in announcing his presidential candidacy in June drew sharp criticism, and the Spanish-language network Univision pulled out of a deal to televise the pageant.
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