South Africa erupted in applause and pride late last year when Sedgefield local, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters scooped up the Miss Universe Crown in an elaborate ceremony held at the Planet Hollywood resort in Las Vegas. Since then, the dark haired beauty has been taking the world by storm and has been set up in The Big Apple for the year of her reign- just one of the many ways in which this small town beauty’s life has changed in a big way. Even with her busy schedule she has found time to return to SA. She views her win as a win for the whole country, and she hopes that her new title will inspire people, especially South Africans, to follow their dreams and work hard.
Pageants that promote a superficial notion of what it means to be beautiful and feminine are slowly coming to an end. Demi-Leigh proves that beauty and brains are not two separate notions. The current Miss Universe has a degree in Business Management at North West University located in Potchefstroom, South Africa. There are stigmas attached to women who participate in pageants, that they are superficial and possibly vapid. However, Demi-Leigh is an intelligent and inspiring woman who encourages women to make their dreams a reality (as she has) everyday. It took Demi-Leigh a lot of hard work, dedication and perseverance for her to get to where she is today and she uses her influence to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people in her community, in South Africa and now the world.
After Demi-Leigh experienced an attempted hijacking she was inspired to launch a campaign called Unbreakable, which aims to educate, uplift and empower women through self-defence. For Demi-Leigh, self-defence gives women power over their bodies and minds as they are able to take charge in difficult situations as well as escape toxic relationships with spouses. In being able to keep themselves safe, the women who attend the program are able to control the outcome of a situation and most importantly believe in themselves and their capabilities.