South African takes the Miss Universe crown


LAS VEGAS: A South African woman who helps train women in self-defence was crowned Miss Universe at the pageant held in Las Vegas, with Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica also making it to the final three.

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 22, who was ecstatic at her win, hails from the Western Cape Province and recently earned a business management degree from North-West University.

During a pre-taped interview, Demi talked about how her experience being held at gunpoint made her passionate about training women in self-defence. She plans to bring that passion, along with a self-defence program she helped develop, to the Miss Universe platform.

During the competition’s Q&A portion, the newly crowned Miss Universe was asked about the most important issue she thought was facing women in the workplace to which she said, “In some places, women get paid 75% of what men earn for doing the same job, working the same hours — and I do not believe that this is right. I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”

Along with the title, Nel-Peters earned a yearlong salary, a luxury apartment in New York City for the duration of her reign and more prizes. She is the second woman from her home country to take home the crown.

Miss Colombia, Laura González, 22, was the first runner-up. 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.

The second runner-up was Miss Jamaica, Davina Bennett who is a model pursuing a degree in marketing at the University of the West Indies.

Ninety-two women from around the world participated in this esteemed competition. This year’s edition had the most contestants ever, including the first representatives in its history of Cambodia, Laos and Nepal.