All bow down to the new queen of the universe, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. After 3 days of preliminary interviews and a night in the City of Lights, Las Vegas, that showcased 92 women from across the globe in swimsuits and gorgeous evening gown presentations, congratulations are in order for Miss South Africa as she was crowned Miss Universe 2017. Nel-Peters, 22, who recently earned her degree in business management at North-West University, South-Africa wowed judges with her beauty and brains and became the first Miss South Africa to take this prestigious title since Margaret Gardiner won in 1978. Nel-Peters beat out first runner-up Miss Colombia Laura González and second runner-up Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett for the crown Sunday night in Las Vegas and looked gorgeous in a sheer flesh-toned, long-sleeved hand beaded dress by Anel Botha. It was inspired by the constellations and consisted of 50,000 hand placed Swarovski crystals which took a team of eight people 168 hours to complete.
During a pre-taped interview, the Western Cape native 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.
In the end, the Top 16 comprised four entrants from Asia Pacific and Africa; four from Europe; four from the Americas and four wild cards voted for by the judges which included Wendy Fitzwilliam (Miss Universe 1998 from Trinidad and Tobago); Jay Manuel (TV host, creative director and makeup artist); Ross Mathews (TV personality); Megan Olivi (Fox Sports 1 host and reporter); Lele Pons (Vine and YouTube personality) and Pia Wurtzbach (Miss Universe 2015 from the Philippines). The night was hosted by Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham.