The reigning Miss USA, Deshauna Barber, and the reigning Miss Universe, Iris Mittenaere, are soaking up every moment during the biggest year of their lives.
Barber, who was crowned Miss USA back in June of 2016 and finished ninth in last month's Miss Universe pageant, explained to me at the E!, IMG and Elle NYFW launch this week that both women have reached the pinnacle of the pageant world, so they're beginning to also think about what happens next.
I caught up with both ladies on the red carpet of the star-studded New York Fashion Week event to talk about taking fashion risks, their favorite designers and what they're looking forward to in 2017:
Now that Miss Universe is over, do you feel like you can take more fashion risks?
Deshauna Barber: Oh, yeah! I think that when it comes to New York Fashion Week, it's literally the only opportunity for us to step out of that pageant box, in terms of being modest and making sure that what we're wearing is "pageant appropriate." So, I like New York Fashion Week because it's a chance to step out of that box. And, her being Miss Universe, she won't be competing anymore -- that's the top tier level [of pageants] -- and myself, having competed at Miss Universe and placing top nine, I'm not competing anymore either, so I can do whatever I want now.
Iris Mittenaere: I like simple things, you know? So, for me, this is crazy! It's absolutely crazy because I only wear simple things. But I also really like [taking risks].
If you had to pick one designer's show to walk in, who would it be and why?
Barber: Nicole Miller. I wore Nicole Miller last September, and I was able to be there at her show, but everything she creates is literally heavenly. I love wearing her designs, and my stylist has a tendency to pull a lot of Nicole Miller styles. She's just classic, and I love the way that she mixes patterns together.
Mittenaere: Dior, of course! I love it -- it's just amazing. In Paris every year, I try to go but it's too difficult to get in! It's a very big dream of mine. I would love to see it one day in my life.
What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
Barber: I look forward to continuing my impact. My platform as Miss USA has been focused on our military and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for our soldiers, so I just look forward to spending the last four months of my reign focused on that. Then, I'm going to go into motivational speaking after this is done.
Mittenaere: 2017 is my year as Miss Universe, so I think a lot of things are coming. I expect to do a lot of things with my charity, and I hope I get to meet a lot of people and travel!
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