Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (L) is crowned the 2017 Miss Universe by Miss Universe 2016 Miss France Iris Mittenaere (R) following the conclusion of the pageant at The Axis at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 26 November 2017. EPA-EFE

LAS VEGAS: A South African woman who helps train women in self-defense was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday at the pageant held in Las Vegas, with Miss Colombia and Miss Jamaica also making it to the final three.

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 22, who unleashed a big smile when she won, hails from Western Cape Province and recently earned a business management degree from North-West University.


Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters reacts after being crowned Miss Universe during the 66th Miss Universe pageant at Planet Hollywood hotel-casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. November 26, 2017. REUTERS

Her passion for self-defense was reinforced when she was hijacked and held at gunpoint about a month after winning her title as Miss South Africa, she said in a video on the Miss Universe website.

Miss Colombia, Laura González, 22, was the first runner-up.

She has been preparing to be an actress since the age of 16. After graduating from a performing arts school, she moved to Bogotá to build her career.

The second runner-up was Miss Jamaica, Davina Bennett, 21. She is a model pursuing a degree in marketing at the University of the West Indies. --Reuters

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