Miss South Africa 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.

We caught with the newly crowned Miss South Africa 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters.

We caught up with the newly crowned Miss South Africa 2017, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters

Age: 21

Occupation: Completed my B.Com in business management and entrepreneurship. I am also a part-time model at Boss Models and Vision Management.

Previous beauty competitions/pageants entered: Miss Teen SA 2010 Top 5, Miss Diaz 2012 winner, Miss NWU Varsity Cup 2015 winner and Miss Varsity Cup 2015 national winner.

Why do you want to be Miss South Africa and what do you think you will be able to bring to the role?

I experienced the power of this platform as a young girl watching the Miss South Africa crownings over the December holidays with my mom. I remember being amazed by the amount of poise and grace that the winners carried themselves with. I have always lived my life in such a way to become the gracious, independent and diligent woman that I am today. If I could be that same inspiration to just one young girl out there, it would be a dream come true. I am sure that my never-say-die attitude and love for people will inspire young women. I am a small town girl with big aspirations.

What qualities do you believe a Miss South Africa should possess?

Miss South Africa should be gentle, caring and kind. She should be known as a person who always gives of herself. Miss South Africa is confident and passionate about life but most importantly, she is relatable.

Which previous Miss South Africa has inspired you?

Cindy Nell has always been a woman I look up to. She is a Miss South Africa that really used the platform to the best of her ability. She has always been unapologetically dynamic and is now a successful business woman. I also found a lot of value in her Model and Pageant Handbook.

Who are your role models?

I can’t single out anyone specific. I have had various people that I have looked up to and drawn strength from at different stages and situations in my life. I think everyone is unique and brings something special to the table. I admire women like Marissa Mayer, the first female engineer and then CEO of Yahoo. Women who don’t only strive to be the equals with men, but who strive to live up to their full potential.

Tell us a bit more about your family.

I consider myself extremely blessed to have four amazing parents. They are my biggest supporters and they have always believed in me and dreamed with me. My mom and my step-dad live in Sedgefield. My step-dad, Johan Steenkamp, is the gentlest soul I have ever met and he truly raised me as his own. He is in the building industry. My mom, Anne-Mari Steenkamp, is my absolute rock. She is an interior designer as well as a landscaper. My dad and step-mom live in Potchefstroom. My step-mom, Elzabé Peters, is a clinical psychologist. My dad, Bennie Peters, recently stepped out of the corporate world and opened Sunset Manor Guest house in Potchefstroom. It’s always been his dream to go into the hospitality industry. I have a 10-year-old half-sister, Franje. She is my dad and step-mom’s daughter. She was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled. She is my biggest motivator in life (and she has the most beautiful lashes any girl can dream of).

What do you do in your spare time?

At this moment, study. Growing up in the Garden Route, I have always loved spending time outdoors. I enjoy trail runs, hiking, road races or even just taking my two Yorkies, Benji and Baxter, for a walk in a park. I like to be creative at times. I always try to make cards for friends and family on their birthdays or I scrapbook pictures of places I’ve travelled to. I enjoy reading fictional books to escape reality for a while as well as autobiographies that I can draw inspiration from. My ultimate 'me time' would definitely be getting ready in the morning. I love being a girl and playing around with make-up or trying new hair styles when I have time.

What is your message to young girls and young women in South Africa?

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’. You are worthy, you matter and you are capable of more than you could ever dream of, all you have to do is try.

If you could meet one person as Miss South Africa who would it be?

I would be thrilled to meet former Miss South Africa, now influential business woman and philanthropist, Basetsana Kumalo. As an aspiring business woman, I could learn a lot from Bassie. She always comes across as a very well-rounded and balanced woman. I think we would have a lot to talk about.

What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I was the first girl in my high school to be chosen as head girl of both my school and my hostel. I was also elected as the Deputy Junior Mayor of the George City Council in grade 11.

What are you reading?

I am currently reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

What music are you listening to?

I’m a big fan of Enya, Adele and Taylor Swift. I also appreciate good classical symphonies. Classical music, especially Beethoven, enhanced my concentration while studying maths.

Your favourite TV show?

I enjoy watching Suits. Donna is my favourite character; I adore her witty sense of humour. She’s such a power woman.

Your favourite meal?

This is a tough choice between pork ribs with a barbeque basting served with oven roast vegetables or oxtail in a red wine reduction served with samp.

What is your favourite quote?

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no-one else has ever been before.” - Albert Einstein

The Miss SA 2017 prize winner’s package includes:

  • R1 million in cash from Sun International and Cell C
  • A Nissan Juke
  • Use of a fully furnished and serviced apartment for the year of her reign
  • Africology product and spa services
  • Smashbox make-up
  • Professional Impressions image and etiquette training 
  • Discovery Insure (medical and insurance cover)
  • Hair by Lajawi and Lebelle Hair Extensions
  • Jack Friedman (jewellery)
  • Norman Cahi (Dental services)
  • Soviet clothing
  • Sprout (aesthetics)
  • The Brow Bar
  • Exclusive Dry Cleaning (Dry cleaning services)
  • Lipault (luggage)
  • Bacher and Co (fragrance)
  • SAA

Varsity College has donated 12 bursaries valued at R44 000 for Miss South Africa to award to economically disadvantaged students to study a full degree or diploma qualification on a full-time or part-time basis at The Business School at Varsity College.

Women Impowered are also donating training and workshops valued at R80 000 for the winner to empower other young women.