Tonight’s top three for the 2017-2018 Miss Universe Pageant was Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett, Miss Colombia Laura González and Miss South Africa. And Miss France Iris Mittenaere, last year’s winner, had to relinquish her crown to one of the three women. In the end, the contestant who won Miss Universe tonight was … Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa. Miss Jamaica came in third place, with Miss Colombia as the runner-up. Get to know more about the new Miss Universe, Nel-Peters, in our 5 Fast facts on her below.
1. Her Sister Was Born With a Disability
In an interview with Jacaranda FM, Nel-Peters opened up about her sister, who suffers from a disability. She revealed that, “It’s always been his dream to go into the hospitality industry. I have a 10-year-old half-sister, Franje. She is my dad and step-mom’s daughter. She was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled. She is my biggest motivator in life (and she has the most beautiful lashes any girl can dream of).”
While discussing her sister, Franje, Nel-Peters also talked about having four parents, explaining, “They are my biggest supporters and they have always believed in me and dreamed with me. My mom and my step-dad live in Sedgefield. My step-dad, Johan Steenkamp, is the gentlest soul I have ever met and he truly raised me as his own. He is in the building industry. My mom, Anne-Mari Steenkamp is my absolute rock. She is an interior designer as well as a landscaper. My dad and step-mom live in Potchefstroom. My step-mom, Elzabé Peters is a clinical psychologist. My dad, Bennie Peters recently stepped out of the corporate world and opened Sunset Manor Guest house in Potchefstroom.”
2. She Was Reported as ‘The One to Beat’ Prior to Tonight’s Pageant
Prior to tonight’s pageant, Independent Online reported that Nel-Peters was “the one to beat”. The official Miss Universe website lists the prizes that Nel-Peters gets by being crowned Miss Universe. These prizes include, “a year-long salary as Miss Universe; luxury accommodations in a New York City apartment for the duration of her reign, including living expenses; a one-year supply of haircare products and tools from Farouk Systems, the makers of CHI Haircare; a shoe wardrobe from Chinese Laundry Shoes & Accessories; a personalized face chart and products from MAC Cosmetics; personal services including membership to Gravity Fitness at Le Parker Meridien Hotel and hair services from John Barrett Salon; a modeling portfolio by leading fashion photographers; dermatology and skincare services; a professional health and nutrition consultation; dental services; professional representation by The Miss Universe Organization; extensive travel representing sponsors and charitable partners; access to various events including casting opportunities, movie premiers, screenings, Broadway shows and launch parties; and personal appearance wardrobe and styling by the official Miss Universe Organization fashion stylist.”
Nel-Peters’ favorite quote is one by Albert Einstein. The quote reads, “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.”
3. Equality In the Workplace Is Important to Her
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For tonight’s Miss Universe question portion of the event, Miss South Africa was the first contestant in the hot seat. She was asked about women in the workforce and what is considered a big issue on this subject. She said that women are often paid 75% of what men earn in the same jobs and she says there should be equal work for equal pay all over the world. After the question round, the top 5 were narrowed down to the top 3 contestants, who were given the opportunity to deliver a “final word.” They each delivered answers to the same question, while not being able to hear one another speak. Like the other two contestants, Miss South Africa was given 45 seconds for her answer and the question was, “What quality in yourself are you most proud of and how will you apply that quality to your time as Miss Universe?” Miss South Africa said that, as Miss Universe, confidence is key. She also said that Miss Universe is able to overcome her fears and she says she believes that is exactly who she is as a woman.
4. Nel-Peters Has a Degree In Business Management
Nel-Peters’ official Miss Universe bio reads, “Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters recently earned her degree in Business Management at North West University after making history at her high school for holding two leadership positions.” Nel-Peters says she admires Marissa Mayer in life. Mayer was actually the first female engineer and then CEO of Yahoo. While in school, Nel-Peters actually held two leadership positions in her student government. One of these positions was Deputy Junior Mayor of the George City Council. According to SA People, in addition to studying business and entrepreneurship, Nel-Peters works as a part-time model for Boss Models in Joburg and Vision Management in Cape Town.
5. She Helps Train Women In Self-Defense
According to Nel-Peters’ Miss Universe bio, she participates in a program she helped develop that trains women in self-defense. She hopes to share these workshops and help as many women as she can. When talking about her message to young women across the world, Nel-Peters told Jacaranda FM that, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’. You are worthy, you matter and you are capable of more than you could ever dream of, all you have to do is try.”