Miss South Africa claimed the 2017 Miss Universe crown!
On Sunday night, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters took home top honors over first runner-up Miss Colombia Laura González, second runner-up Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett, and 89 other women in Las Vegas. The 22-year-old addressed women's issues throughout the entire competition, impressing judges with her gracious heart and vast intelligence on gender pay to self-defense.
Besides that stunning tiara and her beaming smile, fans wanted to know more about how Miss South Africa became Miss Universe in a few seconds. Here are five things you should know about the universe's royalty!
1. Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is the second South African to win the title of Miss Universe since the pageant's inception in 1956: Back in 1978, Margaret Gardiner was Miss South Africa when she won the Miss Universe crown. Nel-Peters brought home another shiny accessory and a whole bunch of pride for the bottom tip of the African continent.
2. Her self-defense platform is rooted in personal experience: Nel-Peters herself was "hijacked and held at gunpoint" a month after winning the Miss South Africa title. This harrowing experience led her to found a self-defense campaign called Unbreakable. The campaign is all about equipping women with knowledge and skills to empower themselves so they can avoid a similar situation.
3. In her limited free-time, she loves playing golf: She often posts Instagram pictures of videos of her various workouts, but turns out, this royal loves the calming game out on the green best of all.
"I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended." Nelson Mandela Today I officially graduated and received my degree in B.Com Business management and entrepreneurship. Today was about taking a moment to stop, look back and appreciate the hard work and dedication that I have put into educating myself. Thank you to my family who supported me in every possible way. This is one great hill done and dusted. Now for the many more to come. #graduation #nwu #pukke #entrepreneur #business #DemiForMissSA
4. She's a recent college graduate: Nel-Peters earned a business degree from South Africa's North West University before coming to Las Vegas to compete.
5. Her biggest motivator in life is her 10-year-old half-sister Franje: She said, "My half-sister was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled. She is my biggest motivator and inspiration, because her situation makes me realize how special life is and I always want to work twice as hard, enjoy life twice as much so that I can enjoy it for her as well. Therefore each experience I encounter is that much more special."
Congrats to the new Miss Universe! We hope she continues on using her crown to empower more women to stand up for themselves and go after their dreams.
E! News also caught up with Miss Universe 2017 co-host Ashley Graham. Press play on the video above to find out what she had to say about the talented ladies vying for the title.