Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters has been crowned Miss Universe 2017.


Nel-Peters, 22, beat out runners-up Miss Colombia Laura González and Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett. The ceremony took place on Sunday in Los Vegas. Originally from the country’s Western Cape, Nel-Peters recently earned her degree in business at North West University.

In a pre-taped interview, the new Miss Universe explained how being robbed at gunpoint transformed her into a passionate trainer of women in self-defense. She wants to bring her passion and a self-defense program to her platform as Miss Universe.

In a video, she explained more about her initiative. “As Miss South Africa, I was able to launch my own campaign called ‘Unbreakable.’ My campaign consists of getting specialists in their field together to equip women around South Africa with the necessary skills and knowledge on how to empower themselves — not only emotionally, but physically as well,” she explained. “I think the important thing is to know that we all have things as humans that we go through. It’s okay not to have a perfect life, and it’s okay to have emotions, and have feelings. If we are able to express our feelings more and share them with others, it’s so much easier to work through when you know there are people holding your hands and walking through this with you.”

She shared more of her values and passions during the question and answer session. When asked about an important issue that women face in the workplace, Nel-Peters discussed the pay gap. “In some places, women get paid 75 percent of what men earn for doing the same job, working the same hours — and I do not believe that this is right,” she said. “I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”

Last day of on stage rehearsals. #ootd by @odettegomesza #missuniverse #southafrica #rehearsals

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Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica also impressed the judges, who spoke about sexual harassment and terrorism in their responses. “Sexual harassment is a form of abuse and no abuse should be tolerated whether in the workplace or in society,” Bennett added. “I believe that men and women should come together and be professional.”

The remaining top 15 competitors came from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, Venezuela, and China.

Last night’s dinner with my girls 💜@planethollywoodint #missuniverse #planethollywood

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