After 39 years, South Africa finally has another Miss Universe after Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters won this year’s competition held at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on November 27 (PST). Margaret Gardiner took home the first Miss Universe crown for South Africa in 1978.
It’s a no-brainer that the newest queen definitely deserves it because she has proven everyone that she’s more than just a pretty face. Demi has the wisdom, eloquence, elegance, and confidence every Miss Universe should possess which she was able to develop due to her past experiences.
But who Demi really is when not under the limelight and behind the camera? Here are the 17 things we found out about her through our research:
1. A small-town girl who was born on June 28, 1995 and resides in Sedgefield, South Africa. She also goes by the nickname Demi.
2. Demi just finished her B.Com Business Management and Entrepreneurship degree last year and worked as a part-time model before focusing on joining Miss South Africa 2017.
3. This is not the only first time she made a history. Way back during her high school days, Demi was the first female in their academe to hold two leadership positions and was also elected as deputy junior mayor of George City Council.
4. Watching the Miss South Africa pageant with her mom has been a December tradition in their household. This also enthused her to join various competitions.
5. Demi’s absolutely a beauty queen in the making as she top-billed the beauty contests she participated in before – Miss Teen South Africa Top 5 (2010), Miss Diaz winner (2012), Miss North-West University Varsity Cup 2015 winner and Miss Varsity Cup 2015 national winner.
6. Demi experienced being carjacked in broad daylight and while being stuck in traffic a few years ago and successfully escaped the attacker who pointed a gun at her.
7. This carjack attempt inspired her to establish her campaign #MissSAUnbreakable, which aims to educate women with self-defense tactics and equip women with the tools they can utilize in time of life-threatening situations. She collaborated with 6th Dan Karate expert and Women INPowered founder Mark Grobbelaar to take this initiative into fruition.
8. Demi’s a champion of gender equality at work and has been very passionate about creating employment and sustainable job opportunities especially for young African women and helping girls earn college degrees.
9. Unlike other offspring of broken families, the 22-year-old model/beauty queen is proud to have four parents. After calling it quits, her parents remarried giving her another father and mother.
10. Demi imparted that her biggest motivation is her 10-year-old half-sister Franje – the daughter of her dad and stepmom – who was born without cerebellum and is completely disabled.
11. In her interview, Demi revealed being an outdoorsy girl who enjoys trail runs, hiking, and road races.
12. Despite her inclination with extreme activities, Demi confessed that she is really girly and loves getting ready in the morning through playing around with make-up and trying new hairstyles if her time permits.
13. Aside from that, Demi’s also into arts for she always crafts handmade cards for family and friends and enjoys scrapbooking.
14. Demi is a self-confessed bookworm. If the real world makes her feel sick, she would read fictional books to escape. But if she needs inspirations, she turns to autobiographies.
15. Demi’s a fur-parent to two Yorkies named Benjie and Baxter and loves to walk them.
16. With her sexy physique, it’s surprising to know that Demi loves chocolate and pizza as much as we do. When asked what she’s going to do after the Miss SA 2017 coronation, she jested that she wanted to eat the biggest chocolate and pizza ever for one day and go back to her usual diet after that.
17. Demi’s had been very vocal about her determination to win the crown. She really wanted it, declaring in a TV interview, “I really I'm not going to Miss Universe to make friends or just for the experience. I want to bring that crown back to South Africa.” And she really brought it home!
Congratulations, Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters!