Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters reacts as she is crowned by Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere during the 66th Miss Universe pageant at Planet Hollywood hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, on Monday. (Reuters photo)
Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, was crowned Miss Universe after the elimination of Miss Thailand Mareeya Poonlertlarp in the best showing by a Thai contestant in 29 years.
Ms Mareeya’s performance was the best by Miss Thailand at the Miss Universe pageant since 1988, when US-raised Porntip “Pui” Nakhirunkanok was crowned Miss Universe. Ninety-two women from around the world participated in the decades-old competition. This year’s edition had the most contestants ever.
The 22-year-old Nel-Peters has earned a yearlong salary, a luxury apartment in New York City for the duration of her reign and more prizes.She is the second woman from her home country to earn the crown.
Last year, Iris Mittenaere from France was crowned when the pageant took place in the Philippines.
Fans of the pageant submitted the questions that the final five contestants were asked during the competition.
When asked to name the most important issue women face in the workplace, Nel-Peters said the lack of equal pay.
“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 is right,” she said. “I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”
Nel-Peters is from the South African coastal community of Sedgefield in the Western Cape province. She helped develop a programme to train women in self-defence in various situations after she was robbed at gunpoint a month after she was crowned as Miss South Africa.
Steve Harvey returned as the show’s host despite botching the 2015 Miss Universe crowning. On Sunday, he poked fun at his mistake throughout the night. Three days after people in the US celebrated Thanksgiving, Harvey told the audience he is “grateful for the Oscars”, referring to the best-picture flub at this year’s Academy Awards.
Grammy-Award winner Fergie performed her new song “A Little Work” while the contestants walked down the stage wearing evening gowns. This year’s judges included YouTube star Lele Pons, former judge of America’s Next Top Mode Jay Manuel and Wendy Fitzwilliam, the 1998 Miss Universe winner from Trinidad and Tobago.
President Donald Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant remarks in announcing his bid for the White House in 2015. At the time, he co-owned The Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, but the network and the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision quickly cut ties with him, refusing to air the show. Trump sued both networks, eventually settling and selling off the entire pageant to talent management company WME/IMG.
Miss Thailand and three other favourites are picked for the Final 10 contestants. (Reuters photo)
National Costume : Maria Poonlertlarp (Miss Universe Thailand 2017) #MissUniverse #Thailand
Can you say Sweet 16? #MissUniverse Thailand earned a degree in International Business Management and a Master’s Degree in Marketing.
Jared Pitt | [email protected] | Contributor