South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters wins Miss Universe 2017
South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe 2017 on Sunday, ending a nearly four-decade long drought for her country in one of the world’s biggest pageants.
Nel-Peters, a 22-year-old business management graduate, beat out 91 other candidates during the finals held in Las Vegas. South Africa last won Miss Universe in 1978.
Outgoing Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere crowned Nel-Peters with the $250,000 pearl-encrusted Mikimoto crown.
Nel-Peters helps train women in her country in self-defense, inspired by that one time when she was held at gunpoint and robbed after winning her title as Miss South Africa.
In one of the final questions during the pageant, she also advocated for closing the gender pay gap when asked about the biggest problem women today face in the workplace.
“In some places, women get paid 75 percent of what men earn for doing the same job and working the same hours and I do not believe that that is right,” she said.
Colombia’s Laura Gonzalez, an aspiring actress, placed first runner-up, and Jamaica’s Davina Bennett, a model with a marketing college degree, was second runner-up.
The Philippines’ Rachel Peters finished in the Top 10.
American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey hosted the event for the third time, making several jokes at his own expense.
In 2015 he famously made a mistake heard round the world when he announced the wrong person as Miss Universe, resulting in an extremely uncomfortable, tense correction and a deluge of internet memes.
Grammy-winning singer Fergie and pop star Rachel Platten provided the musical entertainment for Sunday’s show.
In the “Final Word” portion of the competition, Nel-Peters said “Miss Universe is a woman who has overcome many fears, and by that she is able to help many women overcome their fears.”
“She is a woman that nothing is ever too much to ask for,” she said. “And I think that is exactly who I am.”
Here are 7 things you need to know about your new Miss Universe.
1. She is from Sedgefield in the Western Cape.
2. She loves making handmade cards and is a lover of scrapbooking.
3. She has previously said her biggest motivation is her half-sister, who was born without a cerebellum and is disabled.
4. She enjoys trail runs, hiking and road races.
5. She has always been proud of the fact that she has “four parents” as both her mom and dad are remarried.
6. Demi was elected as the Deputy Junior Mayor of the George City Council when she was in grade 11.
7. Her favourite quote is: “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no-one else has ever been before.” – Albert Einstein
Next, when will her selfies leak?