Miss Universe 2017 is Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters! Demi-Leigh bested 92 other contestants at the 66th Miss Universe pageant for the crown, which is the highest number of contestants to compete. Previously, the record high was 89 contestants.
In 2017, the Miss Universe Organization, decided to choose the Top 16 in a different way that it was done traditionally in the past. For the first time ever, the Miss Universe contestants were split into groups by their geographic location: the Americas, Europe, and Oceania, Africa and Asia.
Four contestants from the Americas, including North America, South America, and the Caribbean; four contestants from Europe; four contestants from Africa, Asia, and Oceania; three wildcard contestants and one fan favorite. The newly crowned Miss Universe came from the Oceania, Africa and Asia group.
Overall, there is an uneven divide between the three groups. In Africa, Asia and Oceania, there are 34 contestants. In Europe, there are 26 contestants. In the Americas, there are 32 contestants. Of each group there will be at least four contestants that progress into the Top 16 on finals night. The remaining four contestants will come from a fan favorite selection and based on merit.
In addition to the unique way of selecting their Top 16 another important item to mention is that Miss Universe Iraq competed at Miss Universe for the first time in 40 years in 2017. Sarah Idan competed at the 2017 Miss Universe pageant while representing Iraq, a country that hasn't sent a representative to Miss Universe in over four decades. Idan won this honor through an open casting call after the former Miss Iraq was dethroned. Although she did not place at Miss Universe, representing Iraq at the pageant is an achievement within itself.
About the reaction
Fans were split on how they feel about this change because it may have a significant impact on the results. A lot of fans are saying that the new Top 16 set up will be unfair to contestants who deserve to be in the Top 16 but may not be in the top four contestants in their continent. Many critics are also saying that although the goal of IMG, the Miss Universe Organization parent company, is to produce a more diverse Top 16, it is likely that this set up will have the opposite effect. Many are outraged that Asia, Africa, and Oceania will be one group while Europe is in one group due to the disparity in size between the two groups.
Some former titleholders have been called on by fans to comment on the news. Deshauna Barber, Miss USA 2016 was tagged in the news announced by Lucas Sigarini (@roadtomissusa) and replied, "I would prefer to remain silent."
Top 5 Onstage Questions and Answers at Miss Universe 2017
This year, the Miss Universe pageant did an excellent job of asking controversial questions that were applicable to all countries, or should we say, the universe. This year’s Top 5, including Venezuela, Thailand, Jamaica, Colombia and South Africa, all gave compassionate answers that showed both their knowledge and determination to change the specific issue that was addressed.
5. Miss Universe Thailand, Maria Poonlertlarp
Question: “What do you think has been the most important social movement of your generation and why?”
Answer: "I think the most important social movement, so far, is that we're having an aging population. So the most important movement in our time is definitely the youth. So the youth is the future. The youth is something we have to invest in because they are the ones who are going to look after the Earth that we live in."
4. Miss Universe Venezuela, Keysi Sayago
Question: “Social media has become a prominent factor in the way we perceive one another. Do you believe social media has had a positive or negative effect on the way we judge beauty?”
Answer: "Social media is what we make of it. We must use social media in a positive way and take away any criticisms. Behind every photo, every social media account, there is a good person, a human who can feel. And we all deserve respect."
3. Miss Universe South Africa (Miss Universe 2017), Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
Question: “Women make up 49 percent of the global workforce. What do you believe is the most important issue facing women in the workplace today and why?"
Answer: "In some cases, women get paid 75 percent of what men earn for doing the same job, working the same hours. And I do not believe that is right. I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world. Thank you."
2. Miss Universe Jamaica, Davina Bennett
Question: “Sexual harassment has been at the forefront of recent headlines. Why is it important for men and women to work together in tackling this issue?”
Answer: "Sexual harassment is a form of abuse and no abuse should be tolerated whether in the workplace or in society. I believe that men and women should come together and be professional, leave this act alone, and anything that happens, such as sexual harassment, should be taken into the law and should be dealt with. Thank you."
1. Miss Universe Colombia, Laura Gonzalez
Question: “Terrorism is one of the main threats facing our world today. As Miss Universe, you will lead discussions on current issues with communities all over the globe. How would you go about explaining terrorism to a child?" (Read: Pageant Question About Terrorism)
Answer: "I have never been a victim or have had a family member be a victim of terrorism. I cannot really explain how it feels to be one of them. But if I had the opportunity to speak to a child, I would tell them that, 'Please, your generation and my generation, we cannot be full of weapons. Please, more books, more culture, more friendships, and more love.' Thank you."
Among the Top 3 contestants were South Africa, Jamaica and Colombia. The Top 3 contestants were all asked, "What quality in yourself are you most proud of and how will you apply that quality to your time as Miss Universe?" Nel-Peters answered, "As Miss Universe, you have to be confident in who you are as an individual. A Miss Universe is a woman who has overcome many fears and by that, she is able to help other women overcome their fears. She is a woman that nothing is ever too much to ask for. I think that is exactly who I am."
Top 10 Swimsuit Bodies of Miss Universe 2017
10. Miss Norway 2017, Kaja Kojan
With toned shoulders and legs, Miss Norway 2017 Kaja Kojan looked fabulous during the preliminary competition.
9. Miss Aruba 2017, Alina Mansur
Miss Aruba 2017, Alina Mansur, did not make the cut on finals night, but she did stun during the swimsuit competition. She's strong – just look at her amazing legs!
8. Miss Colombia 2017, Laura Gonzalez
Laura Gonzalez, Miss Colombia 2017, was first runner-up to Miss Universe 2017 and there's no doubt her swimsuit competition performance played into that result. Gonzalez looks healthy and toned, not to mention confident and sexy. We can't get enough of this intense look from her during the preliminary competition!
7. Miss Philippines 2017, Rachel Peters
Miss Philippines 2017, Rachel Peters, was a fan favorite from the beginning. She made Top 10 on the final night of competition, and it is no surprise why. She radiated confidence on stage during the preliminary swimsuit competition. Peters looked like a model with her lean body.
6. Miss Saint Lucia 2017, Louise Victor
We cannot get enough of Miss Saint Lucia 2017 Louise Victor's arms and abs. She did not make the Top 16 contestants on finals night, but she certainly killed the swimsuit preliminaries. Victor looks strong and confident while working the runway.
5. Miss Canada 2017, Lauren Howe
Miss Canada 2017, Lauren Howe, is another one of our favorite contestants from the preliminary competition. On finals night, she brought her A-game and made it into the Top 10 contestants. Howe looks long and lean in her swimsuit from Yamamay, and her abs are tight and toned.
4. Miss Curacao 2017, Nashaira Balentien
We just loved Miss Curacao 2017 Nashaira Balentien's presence on stage. Although she did not make Top 16 on finals night, she looked fab in the swimsuit prelims. Her shoulders, arms and abs are killer, and her hard work is apparent! Her smile and confidence are just a few other reasons to love Balentien's presentation during the swimsuit competition.
3. Miss Korea 2017, Cho SeWhee
Miss Korea 2017, Cho SeWhee rocked her white Yamamay swimsuit and showed off her hard work during the preliminary competition. Her shoulders are sculpted, her abs are tight and toned, and her legs are muscular and defined. She looks fabulous rocking her confidence on stage!
2. Miss USA 2017, Kára McCullough
Miss USA 2017, Kára McCullough, looked spectacular during the Miss Universe swimsuit preliminaries. Her body looked long, lean and toned, perfect for the Miss Universe Organization. Her legs and arms are toned and lean without looking bulky or too muscular.
1. Miss Universe 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters
Miss Universe 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, clearly spent a lot of time working on maintaining a healthy and fit body. It is no wonder why Nel-Peters topped our list and won the favor of the judges on finals night. She has amazing definition in her legs and abs and the confidence to rock it on stage!
Top 10 Evening Gowns at Miss Universe 2017
10. Miss Philippines, Rachel Peters
The Philippines' representatives always stun with gorgeous evening gowns, and Rachel Peters' figure-flattering dress is no exception. Peters was still able to surprise us all with her amazing look despite an unfortunate photo leak of her evening gown before the competition had even begun.
9. Miss USA, Kára McCullough
Miss USA's evening gown never disappoints. Kára McCullough's custom Sherri Hill looks elegant and dynamic on her tall figure. The unique gown is unlike any ever seen on the Miss Universe stage.
8. Miss Thailand, Maria Poonlertlarp
Maria Poonlertlarp's preliminary evening gown is a showstopper. The interesting gown paired with the elegant necklace commanded attention from the moment she stepped on stage. It is unfortunate that Thailand did not choose to carry this look over to the televised final competition.
7. Miss Mexico, Denisse Franco
This simple gown allowed Denisse Franco's natural beauty to take center stage. The dress complements her hourglass figure and gives her the appearance of a perfect red carpet look.
6.Miss Indonesia, Bunga Jelitha Ibrani
Bunga Jelitha Ibrani's gown has the most gorgeous color! The bright, flowing dress looks amazing with her dark skin tone. She made a beautiful statement with her bold choice of dress and exuded striking confidence as she graced herself down the Planet Hollywood runway.
5.Miss France, Alicia Aylies
The elegant details of this gown ensured that it would be a hit. Alicia Aylies wore a simple color yet stood out with a fabulous, unique design. The attention to detail in this feminine gown is breathtaking and perfect for the Miss Universe stage.
4.Miss Korea, Cho Se-whee
Cho Se-whee's futuristic gown is among the most unique of the competition. The dress had so much movement as she walked across the stage. She also mastered beauty as well. Her updo and red lipstick were the perfect accents to this silver masterpiece.
3. Miss Peru, Prissila Howard
Prissila Howard's evening gown is eye-catching and simple. The golden tones of the dress paired with her dark skin tone make a beautiful combination. This gown is the perfect mix of sexy and modest.
2.Miss Colombia, Laura González Ospina
The only thing more breathtaking than this gown is the woman wearing it. Laura González Ospina's enchanting face shined as she confidently walked the runway in this beaded dress with a sweetheart neckline.
1.Miss Jamaica, Davina Bennett
Everyone was in awe of Davina Bennett's yellow gown. This color on her skin tone is stunning, and the gown's fit is absolutely perfect. This dress is what dreams are made of. Jamaica definitely takes the cake for best evening gown of Miss Universe 2017.
Miss Universe 2017 Costume Review
One of the most exciting parts of the Miss Universe competition is, without a doubt, the national costume parade. It is always so much fun to watch because you never know what you are going to see, but you know that you are going to be wowed! The costume competition is not part of the scoring that determines the semi-finalists or the eventual winner of the pageant. However, it is a great way to show the uniqueness of your country, as well as your own individuality, and to stand out from the rest of the candidates.
10. Miss Universe Venezuela 2017, Keysi Sayago
The title is, “Strong Venezuelan Woman” by Venezuelan designer Alejandro Fajardo, who also designed her evening gown. The costume represents strong, independent women, fair and balanced, intuitive, spiritual, and above all, free. The overall effect is this strong, powerful Venezuelan woman ready to fight whatever battles and hardships come her way.
9. Miss Universe Ecuador 2017, Daniela Cepeda
The costume represents a pre-Columbian Indigenous Empress. It was designed by Wenceslao Munoz Cedeno. The costume design includes four panels that represent four distinct regions in Ecuador. The first is Costa, which is the coastal lowlands. The second is the Sierra, or the highlands. The third is known as the Oriente, or the Amazon region. The fourth is the Galapagos archipelago.
8. Miss Universe Peru 2017, Prissila Howard
The title is, "Warrior of the Sun: Queen of the Incas." The costume was designed by Beto Pinedo. The Gold Inca Empress represents the strength, respect and knowledge of the ancient Peruvian woman.
7. Miss Universe Nicaragua 2017, Berenice Quezada Herrera
The title is, "The Slopes of Volcano Mombacho." The costume was designed by Jorge Salazar Caliz. The variety of flora, fauna and minerals that are abundant in the volcano's area served as the inspiration for this costume.
6. Miss Universe Guatemala 2017, Isel Suñiga
The title is, "The Kites of Sumpango." The costume was designed by Guatemalan Cesar Portillo. This costume is inspired by the Guatemalan tradition of flying kites to promote peace and keep evil at bay during the celebration of “All Saints."
5. Miss Universe Costa Rica 2017, Elena Correa
The costume was designed by Nicaraguan designer Erick Bendaña. This bright and bold feathered costume is celebrating Costa Rica's Columbian gold museum in the capital city, San Jose. It features golden peacock feathers and an endless amount of crystals. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but gold is a pretty good BFF, too!
4. Miss Universe Guyana 2017, Rafieya Husain
The title is, "The Jewel Of Guyana." The concept of this costume was conceived by Miss Universe Guyana herself and the design was executed by Richard and Anthony. This costume is an artistic depiction of Kaieteur Falls, the world’s tallest single drop waterfalls hidden deep in the Amazon. The costume measures eight feet tall with over ten yards of beaded silk organza cascading down. Over 20,000 crystals and 100 yards of crystal strands are layered together over feathers.
3. Miss Universe Canada 2017, Lauren Howe
The title is, "Queen of Ice." The costume was designed by Bismark Martinez. The design was inspired by the Canadian winters in the mountain tops of the Rockies.
2. Miss Universe Myanmar 2017, Zun Thansin
The title is, "Myanmar Traditional Orchestra." The costume was designed by Dr. Thazin Kin. The costume was inspired by the traditional Burmese folk orchestra, which involves many instruments, including drums and gongs.
1. Miss Universe Thailand 2017, Maria Poonlertlarp
The title is,"Chasing The Light." The costume was designed by Prapakas Ansusingha, and the headdress was created by Toi Marilyn. This costume represents an ancient story of thunder and lightning. Maria is playing the God of Thunder, Ramasoon, and the puppet depicts the God of Lightning, Mekhala. Copper and brass were specially woven into the material and Swarovski stones decorate the costume, the headdress and shoes. Mekhala’s costume has LED light and shining crystal, whereas Ramasoon’s hammer is made of gold plated acrylic.
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