Monday morning saw locals waking up to the exhilarating news that our ex Sedge Primary head girl, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, had been crowned Miss Universe!
Many stayed up until the wee hours of Monday 27 November to watch TV coverage of the glamourous pageant, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, and there was no shortage of tears when the beautiful Miss South Africa was crowned by the 2016 Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere. This ended South Africa’s 39-year wait to claim this prestigious title.
According to reports of the event, Demi impressed the judges with her self confidence and her determined stance on gender equality. When addressing the panel, the twenty two year old raised issues regarding equal pay and conquering one’s fears:
“Women earn 75% of what men earn doing the same thing. I believe in equal pay for equal work. As Miss Universe, you have to be confident in who you are. Miss Universe has to overcome her fears and teach others to do the same. And nothing is ever too much to ask for. That is exactly who I am,” she said.
The moment she claimed the crown was an emotionally-charged celebration for both Demi and the cheering crowd. Clearly, she had won over the audience in Nevada, who erupted when South Africa was declared the winner, leaving Colombia’s Laura Gonzalez, and Jamaica’s Davina Benett to take the runners up positions.
Demi later tweeted “South Africa, thank you for support and love throughout my Miss Universe journey. I may be the new Miss Universe but I will always be your Miss South Africa – we did it!”
We caught up with Demi’s mother, Anne-Marie, later in the day. She and husband Johan were at the pageant in Las Vegas, and understandably still bubbling with excitement.
“It really is a fairytale,” said Anne-Marie, “Our little bare-foot girl from Sedgefield has the universe at her feet!” She told us that shortly after the crowning Demi had been whisked off to New York, where she will be based for the next year.
“We are so proud and grateful – this was Demi’s set goal, and she achieved it!”