Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, is your new Miss Universe! Nel-Peters took home the crown at Sunday night’s pageant in Las Vegas, making her the first winner from South Africa since 1978.
“This one is for every single girl and boy that has a dream!” the model and beauty queen wrote on Instagram after her win. “Nothing is ever impossible!”
Nels-Peters was considered a frontrunner for the title after also being crowned Miss South Africa 2017 earlier this year. The 22-year-old recently earned a business management degree at North-West University, and during the show’s Q&A, when asked what she thought was the most important issue facing women in the workplace, she took the opportunity to speak in favor of closing the gender pay gap.
“In some places, women get paid 75 percent 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.”
The show was once again hosted by Steve Harvey who, two years ago, made a major blunder when he mistakenly announced the wrong winner. While it was smooth sailing this time around, he joked that the infamous Oscars best picture mixup took the pressure off of him.
“I’ll tell you what I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend. I’m grateful for the Oscars. ‘Cause it let me off the hook,” he said as he announced the contestants. “So, you can sit here and act like you didn’t see what Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway did, but it got me off the hook.”
Nel-Peters won over the first runner-up, Miss Colombia Laura González, and second runner-up, Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett, for the crown. She takes over Miss Universe duties from last year’s winner, Iris Mittenaere.
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(Photos via Frazer Harrison/Getty)