Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, the 22-year-old South Africa representative, won the Miss Universe crown at The AXIS theater at Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas.
Nel-Peters is the second representative from South Africa to win the crown, defeating Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica. The competition’s top 13 finalists were Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Venezuela and China.
Nel-Peters, just 22-year-old, recently earned a business management degree before winning her crown. She earned a yearlong salary, a luxury apartment in New York City for the duration of her reign and more prizes.
Laura Gonzalez, Miss Colombia, was the first runner-up, while the second runner-up was Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett. In total, ninety-two women from all over the globe participated in the competition. This year’s edition had the most contestants ever, including the first representatives in its history of Cambodia, Laos and Nepal.
“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. I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”
According to Fox News, Nel-Peters, from the South African coastal community of Sedgefield in the Western Cape province, helped develop a program to train women in self-defense in various situations after she was robbed at gunpoint a month after she was crowned as Miss South Africa.
In 2018, Peters began dating former Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow.