Las Vegas, Nevada – On November 26, 2017, Miss Universe South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned the new Miss Universe at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The three-hour special programming event aired live on FOX in the United States.
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters earned her degree in Business Management at North West University. Before college, Demi-Leigh excelled at her high school as president of student council as well as in her community where she served as Deputy Junior Mayor of George City Council. After being the victim of a violent carjacking earlier this year, Demi-Leigh created the Unbreakable Campaign where she partners with self-defense experts to educate, empower and train women on how to handle similar situations including sexual harassment and assault. As Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh hopes her workshops will expand internationally to help as many women as possible.
Now in its 66th year, MISS UNIVERSE® welcomed more contestants than ever before, representing 92 countries including Iraq, Laos, Malta, and Nepal. The top 16 finalists were selected from three regions of the world: Americas, Europe, Africa & Asia Pacific. Fans once again had a virtual seat at the judging table to help their favorite contestants advance with over 90 million votes tabulated from around the world leading up to the competition, and an additional 24 million submitted throughout the final event.
Emmy® Award winner Steve Harvey hosted the competition with model, entrepreneur and body activist Ashley Graham as backstage host. TV personality and fashion expert Carson Kressley and supermodel and pageant expert Lu Sierra provided analysis and commentary throughout the telecast. Eight-time Grammy® Award-winning, multi-platinum solo artist Fergie performed along with multi-platinum, award-winning pop star Rachel Platten.
The judges who helped crown Miss Universe included:
Wendy Fitzwilliam: Miss Universe 1998, Trinidadian lawyer, actress, model and TV host.
Jay Manuel: TV Personality and CEO of Jay Manuel Beauty, creative director, renowned make-up artist and entrepreneur.
Ross Mathews: TV personality, live event correspondent, author, and judge on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Megan Olivi: UFC backstage correspondent and host of The Exchange with Megan Olivi on UFC Fight Pass; advocate for women in sports.
Lele Pons: Venezuelan-American creator and one of digital entertainment’s most recognizable figures; named one of TIME magazine’s 2016 30 Most Influential People on the Internet and Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30 Celebrities.
Farouk Shami: Entrepreneur and founder of Farouk Systems, makers of CHI & Biosilk.
Pia Wurtzbach: Miss Universe 2015, model, actress, UNAIDS Ambassador for the Asia Pacific and advocate for LGBT rights.
Miss Universe trended worldwide throughout the three-hour special event, and prior to the competition, fans joined an exclusive forum on the official Miss Universe Facebook page to share their thoughts and opinions about the competition. Fans were encouraged to submit the final questions they wanted to see posed to the Top 5 on stage during the telecast. Leading up to the competition, viewers were able to get to know the contestants better through the official “Road to the Crown” video series, published on a Facebook’s Show Page.
First Runner-Up: Miss Universe Colombia Laura González
Second Runner-Up: Miss Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett
Top Three: Miss Universe South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters; Miss Universe Colombia Laura González; Miss Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett
Top Five: Miss Universe South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters; Miss Universe Venezuela Keysi Sayago; Miss Universe Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp; Miss Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett; Miss Universe Colombia Laura González.
Top Ten: Miss Universe Venezuela Keysi Sayago; Miss USA Kára McCullough; Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters; Miss Universe Canada Lauren Howe; Miss Universe South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters; Miss Universe Spain Sofia del Prado; Miss Universe Brazil Monalysa Alcântara; Miss Universe Colombia Laura González; Miss Universe Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp; Miss Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett.
Top Sixteen: Miss Universe Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp; Miss Universe Sri Lanka Christina Peiris; Miss Universe Ghana Ruth Quarshie; Miss Universe South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters; Miss Universe Spain Sofia del Prado; Miss Universe Ireland Cailín Áine Ní Toibín; Miss Universe Croatia Shanaelle Petty; Miss Universe Great Britain Anna Burdzy; Miss Universe Colombia Laura González; Miss USA Kára McCullough; Miss Universe Brazil Monalysa Alcântara; Miss Universe Canada Lauren Howe; Miss Universe Philippines Rachel Peters; Miss Universe Venezuela Keysi Sayago; Miss Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett; Miss Universe China Roxette Qiu.