South Africa's Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe 2017 on Sunday, ending a nearly four-decade long drought for her country in one of the world's biggest pageants, EOnline has learned.
Nel-Peters, a 22-year-old business management graduate, beat out 91 other candidates during the finals held in Las Vegas. South Africa last won Miss Universe in 1978.
Outgoing Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere crowned Nel-Peters with the $250,000 pearl-encrusted Mikimoto crown.
During the competition's Q&A portion, the newly crowned Miss Universe was asked about the most important issue she thought was facing women 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.”
Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica also impressed the judges during the Q&A segment, answering questions on how to talk to children about terrorism and sexual harassment, respectively.
“Sexual harassment is a form of abuse and no abuse should be tolerated whether in the workplace or in society,” Bennett said. “I believe that men and women should come together and be professional.”
The competition's top 13 finalists were Thailand, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Great Britain, USA, Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Venezuela and China
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