Miss Universe 2017 Recap: Beauty, Intelligence and Poise

Photographer: Matt Petit

Photographer: Matt Petit

There has been a tsunami of sexual assault allegations against powerful men: Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, Bill O'reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Charlie Rose, Al Franken, and John Conyers among others. Some have acknowledged their behaviors and others think they are above reproach. Women can never achieve equality in society if the systematic and pervasive culture that objectifies us--going back decades, does not change.

Photographer: Matt Petit

Photographer: Matt Petit

With that said, it made me especially proud of the Miss Universe Pageant post Donald Trump. The Miss Universe 2017 pageant took place Sunday, November 26, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ninety two women from around the world competed for the crown. With poise and confidence they strutted down the runway in their swimwear and fabulous gowns, but it was intelligence that stole the night. This years’ Miss Universe contestants were the most dynamic and multi-faceted crop of women. The Top 5 contestants were selected after the evening gown segment: South Africa, Venezuela, Thailand, Jamaica and Colombia. The ladies voiced their opinions on everything from terrorism to social media and sexual harassment, before Jamaica, Colombia and South Africa advanced as the top three.

Photographer: Matt Petit

Photographer: Matt Petit

The stunning and breathtaking natural beauty that is Miss Jamaica, was asked about the hot topic of sexual assault. “Sexual harassment is a form of abuse and no abuse should be tolerated whether in the workplace or in society,” Davina Bennett said. “I believe that men and women should come together and be professional.”

Photographer: Matt Petit | Davina Bennett: Miss Universe Jamaica 2017

Photographer: Matt Petit | Davina Bennett: Miss Universe Jamaica 2017

The gracious and intelligent badass that is Miss South Africa, was asked about the most important issue she thought was facing women in the workplace. "In some places, women get paid 75% of what men earn for doing the same job, working the same hours--and I do not believe that this is right," said Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. "I think we should have equal work for equal pay for women all over the world.”

Photographer: Matt Petit | Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Miss Universe South Africa 2017

Photographer: Matt Petit | Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Miss Universe South Africa 2017

In the end, Miss South Africa Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe 2017, topping first runner-up Miss Colombia Laura González and second runner-up Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett for the crown.

As women we have to deal with many life experiences that sometimes leaves us feeling defeated, but today’s generation of women is more informed than ever before. Like these powerhouse women, my mission is to be part of this evolution--to inspire and use my voice to help women develop the confidence they need to be fabulously fearless and achieve their personal best.

What are your thoughts on the Miss Universe 2017 pageant?