South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters Wins Miss Universe

South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe in a ceremony in Las Vegas, USA, on Sunday night.

Demi-Leigh (22), from Sedgefield in the Western Cape, is the first South African to win the title since Margaret Gardiner in 1978.

The runner-ups in the competition were Colombia and Jamaica. A fan from the Philippines wrote on Facebook that Demi-Leigh outshone the other 91 contestants from the start. “Whenever she’s around the stage alights… we have to be good sports and appreciate the hard work, natural wit and grace and aplomb of Miss South Africa who truly deserves the crown.”

Demi-Leigh, a part-time model and business management graduate, won Miss South Africa in March. She said at the time that her biggest “motivator in life” is her half-sister Franje (10) who is disabled after being born without a cerebellum.

Demi said she considers herself “extremely blessed to have four amazing parents” who are her biggest supporters and have always believed in her. Her mom (“my absolute rock”) and step-dad live in Sedgefield. Her father recently made his dream come true by opening a guest house in Potchefstroom.

In June this year Demi-Leigh survived a hijacking attempt in Johannesburg… and said during a segment on Miss Universe that she’d like to now help as many women as possible with her self-defence workshops. Demi was able to escape the attack by punching one of the carjackers, who had forced her into her car, in the throat.

On Sunday evening, after being crowned Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh said: “This one’s for you South Africa!” See videos below.

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