On Sunday night, Miss Colombia, Miss France, and Miss Haiti were named the top 3 at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant. Miss France, Iris Mittenaere, was crowned Miss Universe, while Raquel Pelissier, Miss Haiti, was announced as the runner-up.
Pelissier, 25, stands at 5’9″, and holds a degree in optometry. Read on to learn more about the multi-talented woman.
1. She Is Pursuing Her Master’s Degree in Scientific Research in Optometry and Vision
Pelissier is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Scientific Research, and is currently focused on a project on the regeneration of the optic nerve.
Late last year, it was reported that Pelissier was struggling to pull together enough finances to attend this weekend’s Miss Universe pageant. According to The Great Pageant Community, $6,000 is required to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, and her profile on the Go Fund Me page read, “In the midst of post Hurricane Matthew, a lot of sponsors have pulled out on us to support other causes. Therefore, Miss Haiti Organization finds itself struggling financially to participate in Miss Universe 2016. Thus, we seek your support in helping us, and Miss Haiti Universe 2016, Raquel Pelissier reach out goals.” The page no longer exists.
Seven years ago, Pelissier survived an earthquake that destroyed her hometown, and “made her value her life and fight for her goals and dreams,” writes Miss Universe.
2. She Hopes to Find a Cure for Blindness
In 2011, Pelissier moved to Madrid where she attended Complutense University. Speaking with Fans of Miss Haiti in 2016, she said, “Living abroad had made me realize the image the rest of the world has of Haiti and I wanted to change that. This a great opportunity for me to show the beauty of Haiti and its culture.”
Earlier this month, Pelissier spoke to cleft palate patients about acceptance and bullying. ABS-CBN reports her as saying, “I like to inspire others because I know what I’ve been through and I thought my life was over. I know you guys thought your life was over with the bullying and I feel the same way because I had to overcome that. And if I’m here today it’s because I’m living my dreams and I wanna fight for what I want in my life and I want you girls can do the same.”
3. She Speaks Four Languages Aside From English
According to Morning News USA, the Miss Universe runner-up speaks four languages aside from English: French, Spanish, Haitian Creole and German.
Pelissier was the 3rd Runner Up in Reina Hispanoamericana 2016, in Bolivia, where she also won the title of Miss Sports Patra.
According to a recent article in GMA News Online, she is also part-Filipino. Speaking with the outlet earlier this week, Pelissier said, “Before coming here in the Philippines, I was really excited because from my mom’s side, I have Filipino blood, and since I was little, they used to tell me that I never lived with that side of the family, but I’m interested in learning about the culture and that’s why I’m happy to be here.”
4. She Practices Cross Fit
Pelissier trains in cross fit and also enjoys doing aerial dance. She says that she doesn’t necessarily have a diet that she uses for pageants, but that she does lead a healthy lifestyle and works out about 8-9 hours each week.
When asked what ‘confidently beautiful’ means to her by Fans of Miss Haiti, Pelissier said, “Being ‘confidently beautiful’ is about embracing my beauty inside and out so as to make all the women embrace theirs as well. God created beauty in all shapes and colors. We should always recognize our worth first in order for others do to so.”
5. She Was Born and Raised in Haiti
Pelissier was born and raised in Haiti, and has said on many occasions that her country has made her the woman she is today. Speaking with Fashion Ayiti last year, Pelissier was asked why she applied for Miss Haiti in the first place. Pelissier responded, “I chose to apply for the Miss Haiti pageant because I wanted to represent my country…. Winning a crown is my way of giving back to the land that bore me since it gives me the opportunity to expose its colors and culture abroad. I want to change the way the rest of the world sees us and make a good impact.”
Read more about it in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: