Miss Universe 2017: contestant from South Africa wins the crown



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  Nov. 26, 2017: Former Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere, on the right, crowns the new Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.

Nov. 26, 2017: Former Miss Universe Iris Mittenaere, on the right, crowns the new Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.

(AP)

LAS VEGAS – Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who represented South Africa, won the Miss Universe crown on Sunday.

The 22-year-old, who recently earned a degree in business administration, was crowned at The Axis Theater at the Planet Hollywood resort casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The runner-up was Miss Colombia Laura Gonzalez, while the second runner-up was Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett.

Ninety-two women from all over the world participated in the decades-old competition. This year's edition had the most contestants, including the first representatives in their history of Cambodia, Laos and Nepal.

Along with the title, Nel-Peters earned a one-year salary, a luxury apartment in New York City throughout his reign and more prizes. She is the second woman from her home country to win the crown.

The fans of the contest sent the questions that were asked to the five final contestants during the competition.

When asked to name the most important problem women face in the workplace, Nel-Peters said there is no equal pay.

"In some places, women are paid 75 percent of what men earn for doing the same job, working in the same hours, and I do not think it's right." she said. "I think we should have the same job for equal pay for women around the world."

Nel-Peters is from the South African coastal community of Sedgefield, in the Western Cape province. She helped develop a program to train women in self-defense in various situations after she was robbed at gunpoint a month after she was crowned as Miss South Africa.

Steve Harvey returned as host of the show despite ruining the crowning of Miss Universe 2015. On Sunday, he mocked his mistake throughout the night. Three days after people in the United States celebrated Thanksgiving, Harvey told the audience he was "grateful for the Oscars," referring to the best-looking film at the Academy Awards.

Fergie, Grammy winner, performed her new song "A Little Work" while the contestants came down the stage wearing evening dresses. This year's judges included YouTube star Lele Pons, former judge of "Next Top Model" of the United States, Jay Manuel and Wendy Fitzwilliam, winner of Miss Universe 1998 of Trinidad and Tobago.

President Donald Trump offended Hispanics when he made anti-immigrant comments in announcing his candidacy for the White House in 2015. At the time, he was co-owner of The Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, but the network and the Spanish-language television network Univision quickly cut ties with him, refusing to broadcast the show. Trump sued both networks, eventually liquidating and selling the entire contest to the talent management company WME / IMG.

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