West Virginia University welcomes Miss Universe 2017: Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters for the second stop on her #UNBREAKABLE “chat” series

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is the reigning Miss Universe champion from South Africa, and holding that title carries several responsibilities-- there’s the glitz and the glam, but then there is also the meaningful outreach aspect of her job. She wanted to do more than what was expected of her and that’s how touring with #UNBREAKABLE started.

#UNBREAKABLE stems from a sexual assault and carjacking situation that happened to Nel-Peters while in South Africa prior to her Miss Universe days. While on her way to an event that night in her glitzy gown and 6-inch heels, she was stopped at a red light and had 4 men knocking on her window. Anticipating for the red light to change, 3 guns were pulled out and pointed at her head causing her to get out of the car and surrender.  The men blocking her from running, had shoved her back in her backseat and drove away with her.

After driving for just a short 10 minutes that felt like hours, Nel-Peters took matters in her own hands. She applied what she learned in a women empowerment course she attended that morning and punched one of the men in the throat, pushed him off of her, got out and ran down the highway. With her adrenaline at a high, shivering and having hot flashes simultaneously, she screamed for help on the highway. She claimed, “No one would help me. Not even families,” until she knocked on one 20-year-old girl’s window. “She came to my salvation and I will forever be grateful for her,” commented Nel-Peters.

Even after all that had happened to her, Nel-Peters made it clear she wouldn’t want to take what happened to her out of her life. She was able to go and get the help she needed in the times she was even terrified to shower by herself. “10 security men won’t make me feel safe, if I can’t get myself to feel safe,” commented Nel-Peters. She then followed up with stating that #UNBREAKABLE roots from the fact that you’re NOT weak asking for help, “Getting help was far more courageous than punching the man in the throat.”

As her reign for the 2017 year continues, Demi-Leigh shares that she will uphold her promise to herself and all the females out there. She has partnered with the “Women in Powerment” course to not be the expert, but to help share her story and implement what she has learned from her experience.

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters concluded her chat on a note I would like to leave this article on. To never be a second grade version of someone else, always be the first grade version of yourself.