Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is a South African model and beauty pageant winner who was crowned Miss Universe in November 2017, months after winning the Miss South Africa 2017 title. She is the second Miss Universe titleholder from South Africa since its inception in 1956, and won the crown nearly four decades after Margaret Gardiner won it in 1978. Following her win, she visited several countries including the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, France, Mexico, Ecuador, India, Lebanon, Egypt, Malaysia, apart from many cities in the United States and South Africa. On December 17, 2018, she passed on the crown to her successor, Catriona Gray of the Philippines, in Bangkok, Thailand. She is engaged to Tim Tebow, who is a former professional American football player and current professional baseball player.
Rise to Stardom
While studying in college, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters began working part-time as a model signed to Boss Models and Vision Management Cape Town. She started participating in beauty pageants in her late teen years and competed for four years before earning global fame. In 2017, she represented Western Cape in the Miss South Africa 2017 competition, which she eventually won. As Miss South Africa, she was given the opportunity to represent South Africa in both Miss World 2017 and Miss Universe 2017, but could only attend one because of coinciding schedules, and was sent to the Miss Universe competition held in Las Vegas, Nevada. She passed all the rounds of the competition to win the title and was crowned by the previous year's winner, Iris Mittenaere. With this win, she became the second ever titleholder from South Africa, after Margaret Gardiner, who was crowned Miss Universe 1978.
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Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters used the global platform to share how a harrowing experience encouraged her to establish a self-defense workshop called 'Unbreakable', which seeks to empower women by providing them with the knowledge and skills to defend themselves. One month after her Miss South Africa title win, she was carjacked and held at gunpoint by goons at Hyde Park in Johannesburg; however, thanks to her self-defense coaching, she was able to escape and seek help after punching one of them in the throat.
Family & Personal Life
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was born on June 28, 1995, in Sedgefield, Western Cape. Her parents, Bennie Peters and Anne-Marie Steenkamp, are divorced and have remarried. She lives with her mother and her step-father in Sedgefield, while her father and her step-mother live in Potchefstroom. Her father, who worked in a corporation, recently entered the hospitality industry by opening Sunset Manor Guest House in Potchefstroom. Her mother, an interior designer and a landscaper, is married to Johan Steenkamp, who works in the building industry. Her father married clinical psychologist Elzabé Peters, and they have a daughter named Franje who was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled.
She told in an interview that her step-sister motivates her the most. She is very close to her step-parents. She was the first girl in her school to serve as the head girl in school and hostel. In the 11th grade, she was elected as the Deputy Junior Mayor of the George City Council. She later earned a bachelor's degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship from North-West University. She is fluent in both English and Afrikaans. An avid reader, she also enjoys travelling and outdoor activities like trail runs, hiking, and road races. She has two pet Yorkies named Benji and Baxter.
Relationship with Tim Tebow
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters first met her fiancé Tim Tebow at the 'Night to Shine' event organized by his charitable foundation in South Africa in 2018. Along with her sister, she was invited to attend the event which throws a prom night for special needs children. The two connected over their deeply religious views and have been together ever since. They first made the affair Instagram-official on August 14, 2018, when she posted a picture of them together and wished him happy birthday. The following month, she posted another picture from their Thanksgiving get-together in America, in which his parents, her own parents and her step-parents were present.
On January 11, 2019, both of them shared on their Instagram accounts pictures from their engagement ceremony, which took place on January 9th at Tebow's family farm in Jacksonville, Florida. He had secretly flown her family from South Africa to witness the special moment. They took a romantic stroll in his family property and stopped at an arbor by a lake on which he had engraved the date of their first meeting. He then surprised her by dropping to his knees to propose to her with a 7.25-carat solitaire ring. They had dinner at a Jacksonville club and the couple later visited Disney World to celebrate their engagement.