South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters wins Miss Universe 2017
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.”
Born in June 28, 1995, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is a South African model.
During the final Question and Answer portion, the top 3 were asked the same question: “What quality in yourself are you most proud of and how will you apply that quality in your time as Miss Universe?”
In the Question and Answer portion, Miss South Africa answered: “As Miss Universe you have to be confident in who you are as an individual. A Miss Universe is a woman that has overcome many fears and by that she is able to help other women overcome their fears. She is a woman that nothing is ever too much is asked for and that’s exactly who I am.”
Born in February 22, 1995, Laura Gonzalez Ospina is a Colombian actress and model born in Cali but raised in Cartagena. She went to the Cartagena Modern Gymnasium and Dramatic Art at the School of Education Actoral House Ensemble and speaks English, Spanish and French. She participated in the 2017 telenovela “La Cacica” as Chechi. She has also been featured in several films.
In the Question and Answer portion, Miss Colombia answered: “I’m incredibly passionate in everything I do. With compassion, I have discipline. With compassion I put my whole self in every situation that I work at. I’ve done this as an actress. I’ve done this a Colombian and I do not doubt that I will do this as Miss Universe.”
Born in March 5, 1996, Davina Bennett is a Jamaican model.
In the Question and Answer portion, she answered: “I’m most appreciative of is my drive, my determination. I am the owner of a foundation that spread awareness for the deaf community. And this platform is a great platform great to let persons know that these persons need opportunities and need equal opportunities as those in society. And so Miss Universe competition will be the platform for me to use this foundation to spread awaress for all the deaf and mute around. Thank you.”