Demi-Leigh and Vickie Rushton: on Sibling Love

What does Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh Nel-Peters and Binibini 1 Vickie Marie Rushton have in common? Yes, they both stand tall at 5’6″ and blessed with gorgeous faces… but they are also wonderful sisters to their siblings with disabilities.

Demi Leigh credits her sister disabled sister as her biggest motivation. She said, “My half-sister was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled. She is my biggest motivator and inspiration, because her situation makes me realize how special life is and I always want to work twice as hard, enjoy life twice as much so that I can enjoy it for her as well…” Vickie, whose 27 year old brother Kian is with Down’s Syndrome, has been one of the main caretakers of her sibling. She credits her brother as one of the reasons for her Binibini journey. In an atricle from she stated, “We are blessed that God chose us to be with an angel here on earth to experience and feel this kind of love they give, so genuine and true. Isn’t it amazing that even if we’re quiet, they know whenever we need a hug? That’s how special they are. I hope there will be more families that will embrace their uniqueness because they bring so much happiness. Let’s not be violent but rather be patient and shower them with pure love. They depend on us so let’s not fail them. Let’s be strong for them.

It is understandable that Vickie chose her advocacy to be something that hits closer to home and to the heart.  She is advocating for the welfare of people with disabilities, and this draws from her own experiences being very hands-on with her brother, Kian. I have a new-found respect and admiration for Vickie upon learning this about her. Now I understand where her patience, poise and grace comes from. It came from a place of love and empathy.



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”.


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.


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.

Patterns of the Miss Universe 2014- 2017 Winners

There is are two emerging trends in Miss Universe nowadays: 1st is that the past 4 winners are from four different continents, and 2nd is the long wait of each of the countries in their respective MU victories.

Miss Universe 2014 – Colombia, 56 year gap since its last win, from the Americas
Miss Universe 2015 – Philippines, 42 year gap since its last win, from Asia
Miss Universe 2016 – France, 63 year gap since its last win, from Europe
Miss Universe 2017 – South Africa, 39 year gap since its last win, from Africa
If this is the pattern, would it be safe to say that the next MU winner be coming from the Americas? Or would it skip the Americas and go to the Pacific or even the Caribbean? Could it finally be the time for  Jamaica?Perhaps the crown may find itself on a country with a first time winner? We would have to wait with bated breathe until the next MU pageant comes along…