After a tough competition, it’s official. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Miss South Africa, has been crowned Miss Universe.
Nel-Peters beat out runner-up Laura González, Miss Colombia, and second runner-up Miss Jamaica, Davina Bennett, in the November 26 competition. This year’s pageant took place in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nel-Peters advocated for increased self-defense classes during her time in the competition and spoke candidly about her own experience being held at gunpoint in her native country. She also discussed income inequality, talking about the wage gap affecting women in the workplace.
“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,” she said. “I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”
Her poise and ability to answer tough questions ultimately helped her to clinch the crown.
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) November 27, 2017
The top 13 finalists in the Miss Universe competition were Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Venezuela and China.
Nel-Peters will now take on a year of charitable appearances, speaking engagements and workshops with her crown, all in the hopes of advocating for and bringing light to her chosen cause.