The world’s current Miss Universe has told of a time she almost didn’t make it to the international competition after a kidnapping attempt had her fearing for her life.
In an interview with Page Six, South African-born Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters spoke of how she was held up at gunpoint in Johannesburg just a month after she won Miss South Africa in 2017.
“It was on June 7 of …I was in South Africa on my way to an event, and I was carjacked by five guys,” the 22-year-old said.
“It was scary — but the magic of that was I did a women’s empowerment course about three months prior to the incident, where they taught me what to do if you go through a situation like that. I was driving and I stopped at a red traffic light in broad daylight… When I saw the weapons, I immediately surrendered and gave up the car. But when I got out of the car, the guy actually tried to push me back in… I said to myself, ‘I’d rather be shot here than kidnapped and never be seen again.’
“The second destination will never be better than the first. So I punched him in his throat and ran away.”
In a separate interview last year with Hollywood Life, Nel-Peters said she knew from the moment she saw then men what was about to ensue.
“I saw them approaching me, three to my left and another on the other side, and I knew by their eyes what they were coming to do. I was petrified but prepared for what was coming,” she said.
The incident inspired her to become a self-defence trainer.
In 2017 in Las Vegas, Nel-Peters was crowned Miss Universe, only the second ever South-African to hold the title.