Nel-Peters dedicates Miss Universe win to South Africa

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"More than your poise and beauty, you are a cut above the rest with your grace and elegance that exemplifies a true woman of substance and an inspiring Filipina", Araneta said in a statement. The native of Sedgefield in Western cape, South Africa also held prestigious leadership positions at her high school.

Miss South Africa 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (L) reacts as she is crowned new Miss Universe 2017 by Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere on November 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was declared the victor and Miss Colombia Laura González Ospina, first runner up.

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Nel-Peters, who recently earned a business management degree, was crowned during the event at The AXIS theater at Planet Hollywood casino-resort on the Las Vegas Strip. 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.

During the question and answer session, the 22-year-old was asked by host Steve Harvey: "What quality in yourself are you most proud of and how will you apply that quality to your time as Miss Universe?"

The second runner-up was miss Jamaica and the first runner-up was Miss Columbia. Jamaica's Solange Sinclair secured a Top 10 spot and grabbed the Caribbean Queen of Beauty award in the 2017 Miss World pageant in Sanya, China last weekend. "Congratulations to our Miss Universe!"