Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, a 22 year old beauty from South Africa, was crowned Miss Universe 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday night. She is the 66th Miss Universe and the second ever South African to win the crown after Margaret Gardiner experienced 39 years ago in 1978. Nel-Peters has been preparing for months to represent her country at Miss Universe and declined the right to take part in Miss World in favor of her participation in this pageant. She explained earlier this year it has always been her dream to win Miss Universe and South Africa's super pageant coach, Werner Wessels, was hired by Sun International, the owners of Miss South Africa, to train her for this competition. Wessels also trained Rolene Strauss, Miss World 2014, and is without a doubt one of the best in the business.
Miss Colombia, Laura Gonzalez, finished as the first runner-up for the second time in the last three years and their fourth successive top 5 placement. Jamaica's Davina Bennett finished in third place. Keysi Sayago from Venezuela and Maria Poonlertlarp from Thailand completed the top 5.
The delegates from Brazil, Canada, the Philippines, Spain and the United States made it to the top 10 before being eliminated. Misses China, Croatia, Ghana, Great Britain, Ireland and Sri Lanka completed the top 16. The Best National Costume award went to Miss Japan, Momoko Abe. 92 women competed for the title this year, a record number for Miss Universe.
Congratulations to the new Miss Universe, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who was just absolutely perfect tonight. We are so excited to follow her reign and wish her all the best for the next year. Great job, judges, you got it right! And to Global Beauties' panel, congratulations on picking the winner! Werner, you deserve this. I am extremely proud of you. You have shown once and for all that you are the king of pageants, my friend!