Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere of France crowned South African beauty Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters Miss Universe 2017 during the event that took place at The AXIS theater at Planet Hollywood casino-resort on the Las Vegas Strip. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 22, who unleashed a big smile when she won, hails from Western Cape Province and recently earned a business management degree from North-West University. Along with the title, Nel-Peters earned a year-long salary, a luxury apartment in New York City for the duration of her reign and more prizes.
The first runner-up was first runner-up Miss Colombia Laura González. The second runner-up was Miss Jamaica, Davina Bennett, 21. She is a model pursuing a degree in marketing at the University of the West Indies.
The Western Cape native is also into self-defense programmes after her bitter experience of being held at gunpoint. She was hijacked and held at gunpoint about a month after winning her title as Miss South Africa. She plans to bring the self-defense programme to the Miss Universe platform. As Miss Universe, she also hopes to help find a solution for the water drought in her country’s capital, Cape Town. She would also focus on advocacy such as HIV/AIDS, which is a big problem in South Africa, as well as support Miss Universe Organization’s partner charity, Smile Train, which provides free surgeries for children with cleft lip or palate. Likewise, she wishes to help the women victims of crimes under the care of non-government organization Unbreakable.
She has been preparing to be an actress since the age of 16. After graduating from a performing arts school, she moved to Bogotá to build her career.
During the Q&A round, the newly crowned Miss Universe was asked about the most important issue that was according to her, being faced by women in workplace. “In some places, women get 75% of what men earn for doing the same job and working the same hours – I do not believe this is right,” she said. “I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”In this year’s competition, the contestants were asked questions submitted by fans.
During the Q&A round, the newly crowned Miss Universe was asked about the most important issue that was according to her, being faced by women in workplace. “In some places, women get 75% of what men earn for doing the same job and working the same hours – I do not believe this is right,” she said. “I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”
The competition’s top 13 finalists were Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Venezuela and China.
Donald Trump owned the international beauty pageant, which dates back to 1952, until he sold it in 2015. It is now backed by Hollywood mega-agencies WME/IMG. It is held in 190 countries worldwide and 92 women competed in this year’s final.
“To be confident is to be confident about who you are and to work on your fears, to know how to handle your fears and be a strong, independent women,” Nel-Peters said when asked to define the Miss Universe motto “confidently beautiful.”
You can conquer your fears and become anyone you want to be!” espoused Demi-Leigh, who just gave to South Africa its second Miss Universe title and its first Miss Universe crown in 39 years.
Blog Writer: Aishwarya Pillai
She is a Traveler and a Blogger.