Demi Leigh Nel-Peters in Indonesia!

Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh Nel-Peters is at Labuhan Bajo, Indonesia shooting a vitamin drink commercial! Labuhan Bajo is on one of the Flores group of islands in Indonesia, a tourist hotspot/ destination…

Demi is scheduled for her homecoming in South Africa later on January 24th…


Demi Leigh’s Homecoming!

Rejoice South Africa as your universal queen is coming home! Two months after her Miss Universe 2017 win in Las Vegas, Demi Leigh Nel-Peters is set to come home to her country.

22 year-old Demi will be coming home to her official welcome celebration on January 24th and is set to visit Johannesburg, Cape Town and Sedgefield. The Miss South Africa organization has officially announced that Demi will be at the Cell C Connect Centre, Waterfall Campus on 24 January from 16:00 to 17:30 (4pm to 5;30pm).
She is also said to be hosting workshops under her advocacy named Unbreakable. The Unbreakable campaign “aims to empower women through self-defence by training them on how to handle a variety of situations including assault, domestic violence and sexual harassment”.


#Nostalgia: Miss International 1998 Lia Victoria Borrero

If one door closes, somewhere is an open window… or so that saying goes. But for Senorita Panama 1996, Lia Voctoria Borrero, she found a floodgate…

Standing at 5’9″, Lia was crowned Señorita Panamá 1996 on September of that year. Later in May of 1997, she found herself competing in Miss Universe in Miami, Florida. She was the second highest overall scorer during the preliminaries behind Verna Vasquez of Curacao. But luck didn’t shine for her during the finals as she only ended up as one of the top 6 finalist that year.

Lia with her Miss International runners up…

In 1998 though she would find redemption in Miss International. Lia bested top favorites for the MI title which included 1st runner up Daniela Kosan of Venezuela (who won Miss Photogenic) and Adriana Hurtado of Colombia (who won Best in National Costume).

As Miss International, she worked for the International Culture Association (ICA) during her year-long reign, helping the One Love Fund, a foundation that gives donations to people who suffer from natural disasters, through the creation of goodwill activities.
After her reign she opted for a quiet life away from the limelight. She then became a sales manager and had a family of her own with her husband and son. Several years ago, she was honored by the Señorita Panama for her achievements in Miss Universe and Miss International.

Demi-Leigh Says “For Me, It has Always been Miss Universe”

It has always been Miss Universe for Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters… at least that is what she revealed post Miss Universe crowning.

South Africa is one of the countries that has always sent its main winner to both Miss Universe and Miss World competitions. Most often than not, they would compete in Miss World first before thinking of competing in Miss Universe. But when the pageant dates overlap, the winner usually gets to decide which pageant she would prefer to compete in.
In the case of Demi-Leigh, she revealed that it has always been Miss Universe for her. When MW President Julia Morley and the 2016 MW winners visited South Africa, fans thought that Demi might be competing in MW. Most pageant fans would have wanted her to compete in MU and that she would perhaps be wasted in MW (who traditionally prefers taller women). Then came the reveal that Demi would be competing in Miss Universe. Her decision led her to winning the title in Las Vegas last November 26th. A good decision since even her Miss South Africa runner up Ade van Heerden also gets to compete in Miss World. Ade landed among the top 10 of MW last year.


#Nostalgia: Miss Universe 1995 Chelsi Smith

One of my favorite Miss Universe winners from the 90’s is Chelsi Smith. And today, we are featuring her with photos from Miss Universe 1995 in Windhoek, Namibia.

Chelsi made history twice in 1995: first when she became the first African-American to win Miss Texas USA and when she became the first African-American Miss USA to win Miss Universe. The bi-racial beauty stood 5’8″ and was my favorite to win Miss USA back then. Her win as Miss USA became the 7th title for Texas. She was also my personal favorite in Miss Universe. She was a 21 year old Education student when she won the title in Namibia.

Chelsi’s background didn’t hinder her to become a success story. Despite being a child of divorce (both her parents and then grandparents were got divorced when she was growing up), pushed for her dream to become a beauty queen. She grew up in a predominantly Caucasian town of Deer Park, Texas. Her landmark win in both Miss Texas USA & Miss Universe were heralded as a breakthrough for African-American women in pageants during the 90’s.

As Miss USA, she received cash and prizes worth US$207,000. Her Miss Universe prize totaled to the amount of US$220,000 plus the honor of an ownership of an African elephant to be named after her.


PhotoCollage of the Day: The Miss Universe Signed Photographs

Since covering the Miss Universe pageant in Doral, Miami, I have been conscientiously amassing electronic autographs of the winners on my tablet. I decided that instead of having actual photographs signed, I prefer the electronic ones having learned a lesson back in 1994 when I lost an autographed photo of Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen. That was a painful rookie mistake in my youth that I do not plan to repeat.

So far, I haven’t missed acquiring any of the MU winners’ signatures for my collection since I started covering the MU pageant.
Here are some interesting tidbits on these autographs: Pia’s signature was acquired almost after her reign, Paulina was the easiest to get an autograph from as I was able to get it during the press junket (together with that of MJ Lastimosa’s) and Demi was the most difficult to take due to the insane security at the Miss Universe in Planet Hollywood.

Hopefully I would get the next Miss Universe winner’s autograph without much difficulty…

Sashes&Scripts Year-End Special: the Alpha Pageant Ranking of 2017

With the Alpha pageants of 2017 being crowned in the same year (remember the MU2016 edition happening in January 2017?), we can finally list down the 2017 rankings within the same year.

Note that the Sashes&Scripts ranking is quite different from the Sash Factor ranking as we list down the overall achievements of the countries just like the Olympic medal tally from the conception of the 4 major pageants. The reason for this is simply because we believe that this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Demi Leigh Nel-Peters’ win in Miss Universe only boosted South Africa to a 15th place overall behind Spain, Germany, Argentina and Finland. Indonesia’s first Miss International win care of Kevin Liliana places her country in the board to look out for…

Now on to the top 10 ranking this year…
10. Colombia – 5 crowns & 26 runner up placements, the 2 runner-up placements didn’t create enough ripple to move it higher this year.
9. Sweden – 6 crowns & 14 runner up placements
8. Brazil – 6 crowns & 37 runner up placements
7. United Kingdom (GB & England) – 7 crowns & 21 runner up placements
6. Australia – 7 crowns & 26 runner up placements
5. Puerto Rico – 9 crowns & 11 runner up placements
4. India – 9 crowns & 15 runner up placements, moves one spot higher to bring down Puerto RIco to the 5th spot with Manushi’s win.

3. Philippines – 14 crowns & 21 runner up placements, Karen Ibasco’s win brings a significant move as it comes closer to the 2nd spot. All it needs is a minimum of major crown next year to overtake the US.
2. USA – 14 crowns & 59 runner up placements
1. Venezuela – 22 crowns & 42 runner up placements, Diana Croce’s 2nd runner up placement in MI just keeps on piling up the lead of this pageant powerhouse.