Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is in South Africa this week, and we thought that with August being Women’s Month, it’s a good time to ask her some questions about her career – how it all started, and what she’s doing with her life now. (We also tried to get a wedding date out of her, but she’s not sharing that yet…)
How did you get into modelling and beauty pageants? Was it always a dream or did someone suggest or persuade you to enter the industry?
I competed in a few pageants when I was younger, signed with Boss Models Jhb when I was 16 years old. School and university was always my priority so I only pursued modeling part time through high school and university. Entering Miss South Africa was a dream I had ever since I watched Miss SA for the first time as a seven-year-old girl. I remember what a huge inspiration former titleholders were to me throughout my life and I always hoped I would be able to fulfil that same role for other young women.
Was your 1.69m height ever a disadvantage in your modelling career?
To be honest, in high-fashion jobs, sometimes it has been a bit of a disadvantage. But it has never been an insecurity to me because there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I love my body, I love my build, as long as I am fit and healthy, I am always happy.
What advice do you have for aspiring models who want to enter the industry?
There are so many things I can say but one of the biggest pieces of advice is to never be gullible. I am so grateful to have always had and still have the best agencies who represent me. They have never been anything but professional and I have honestly never had any bad experiences, but I know that’s not the case for many young models entering the industry. I am also grateful to have parents who love and care for me deeply and have always guided me. So I would definitely advise models to have mentors who can guide them and keep a clear perspective.
We assume that you are making the move to the US permanently, to support your future husband’s US-based career and perhaps for greater international opportunities for you. How does your family feel about that?
I made the move to the US back in November 2017, after winning Miss Universe, to fulfil my duties. Since winning Miss Universe I am very grateful to have established a career as a professional model with IMG Models and also recently started working with WME (William Morris Endeavour) which I am very excited about. I love the fact that Tim and I support each other in both our very different careers and that we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. My family and I definitely miss each other a lot. I have a small family but we are all really close. I make an effort to come home every two to three months and they also visit occasionally. Thank goodness for social media and video calling!
How did you and Tim meet?
I was introduced to Tim after he invited my late sister, Franje, and family to attend ‘Night To Shine’ South Africa, hosted by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Night To Shine is a worldwide prom hosted on the Friday before Valentine’s day each year for people with special needs.
We are so curious to know if you have set a wedding date and where the wedding will take place! Can you reveal those details yet?
Unfortunately that is still just our little secret
What are you doing with your time in the USA these days? Can you work on your projects and passions (women empowerment, self-defence) from over there?
I am currently working as a full-time model with IMG Models in New York. I am also happy to be represented by WME as an influencer and speaker. ‘Unbreakable’ is part of me and it is a project that has grown to be so much more than I ever expected. I have used the past six months to establish how I can grow, expand and evolve Unbreakable.
Just in case you don’t know much about Demi-Leigh…
Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is a South African beauty pageant title holder, model and influencer. She won Miss South Africa 2017 and went on to be crowned Miss Universe 2017. Demi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship, and is passionate about women empowerment, after surviving a horrific attempted hijacking in South Africa. Demi started the ‘Unbreakable’ campaign which aims to educate, uplift and empower women.
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