After 39 long years since Margaret Gardiner won South Africa’s first ever Miss Universe crown, South Africa emerged victorious once again as Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters walked away with the prestigious crown. The pageant was held in Las Vegas where a total of 92 ladies from around the world participated. Hailed as first runner-up is Colombia’s Laura González. Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett was named 2nd runner-up. Completing the Top Five are Miss Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp and Miss Venezuela Keysi Sayago.
The victory of Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters confirmed the earlier assessments that she is a top favourite. She consistently placed high in Missosology’s Hot Picks but was relegated in the final stretch due to her shaky prelim performance. But Demi-Leigh saved her best for the finals night where she aced the gown and swimsuit segments. She wowed the crowd with her perfect answer on a question about the challenges women face in the workplace.
“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,” she said. “I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”
Missosology predicted Miss Thailand Maria Poonlertlarp will take it all but she faltered in the Top 5 interviews. Making it to the Top 10 are Miss Brazil Monalysa Alcântara, Miss Canada Lauren Howe, Miss Philippines Rachel Peters, Miss Spain Sofía del Prado and Miss United States Kára McCullough.
This year’s format was radically altered with 4 ladies were chosen from 3 regions: Asia/Africa, Europe and the Americas. The other 4 were chosen as wildcards. Making it to the Top 16 are Miss China Roxette Qiu, Miss Croatia Shanaelle Petty, Miss Ghana Ruth Quashie, Miss Great Britain Anna Burdzy, Miss Ireland Cailín Toíbín and Miss Sri Lanka Christina Peiris.
Steve Harvey returns this year as Miss Universe host for the third time. Musical artists Fergie and Rachel Platten gave a much needed entertainment jolt for the pageant. Sitting as members of the jury are Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam, TV host Jay Manuel, Ross Mathews, Megan Olivi, Lele Pons, and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.