The 66th MISS UNIVERSE Competition will air LIVE from The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas on November 26, 2017! This year has some of the strongest contestants of all time! Steve Harvey is set to return as host and Iris Mittenaere, the current Miss Universe will crown the winner! Who are your favorites to win? Let us know by ranking this list in the order of how likely they are to be crowned Miss Universe 2017!
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Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters recently earned her degree in Business Management at North West University after making history at her high school for holding two leadership positions. Demi-Leigh’s biggest motivation comes from her half-sister who has a disability, that lives in Potchefstroom with her stepmother and father.
Laura González Ospina from Cartagena de Indias has been preparing herself to be an actress since the age of 16. After she graduated from a performing arts school where she studied acting, she moved to Bogotá to kick start her career. Since taking the risk to pursue acting, Laura has worked to develop herself in theater, short films and TV.
Keysi Sayago comes from a humble family and grew up surrounded with love, especially from her grandparents that took care of her. Her family gave her the strength and compassion to help others with love and commitment. Keysi has always had an interest in mechanical equipment and how things work, which has led her to earn a degree in mechanical engineering.
Prissila Stephany Howard is a Peruvian actress, TV Host and model. Due to the restructuring that carried out the Miss Perú Organization, Priscila Howard was appointed to represent Peru at the Miss Universe 2017. Priscila is not new to the world of pageants. She was declared as the 1st runner-up at the Miss Perú 2016 competition. Priscila represented her country at Miss Grand International 2016 in Las Vegas where she finished in the Top 10 semi-finalists. This pageant veteran also won some of the major pageants in Peru including Miss Teenager Perú 2009 and Miss Teen Del Pacifico 2010.
Denisse Iridane Franco Piña won the Nuestra Belleza México 2017 on March, 2017 and will represent Mexico at the Miss Universe 2017 pageant. Franco was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico. She works as a professional model.
22-year-old Samantha Katie James was born and raised in Klang, Selangor. As an only child to a single mother, she was raised by guardians almost her whole life. As a result, she became independent at an early age. After being discovered as a model, her assignments have taken her around the world and given her the opportunity to experience living in different countries and working with people of various cultural backgrounds.
Rachel Peters graduated with a degree in business and has since been working in the events industry. She is always up for a new challenge and loves coffee, the beach, surfing and interior design. Rachel found a way to combine all the things she loves by opening a small cafe on the small island of Siargao. She is an advocate for celebrating one's individuality despite all the noise and pressures of social media. Rachel wants to make the Philippines proud in hopes to become the next Miss Universe.
Cho Se-Whee is a young entrepreneur and CEO of her online shopping company. She hopes to be a professional mentor and inspiration to others who aspire to be a young entrepreneurs. Constant traveling has exposed Cho to various fashion trends and marketing directions to stay on top of the competition. Cho enjoys relaxing and reading a good book, though also appreciates the thrill of competing and challenging herself to improve upon her skillsets. Cho is excited to meet the contestants and compete on the global Miss Universe stage.
Danyeshka "Danna" Hernández Valentín was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She is a model and also studies in the Department of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing at the University of Puerto Rico. On May 4, 2017, representing San Juan, she was crowned Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2017. She will represent Puerto Rico at the Miss Universe 2017 pageant.
Souphaphone Somvichith was crowned Miss Universe Laos 2017 at Lao National Convention Center in Vientiane on August 26, 2017 and will compete at Miss Universe 2017. She is also set to be the first Laotian to participate at the Miss Universe. She is currently a student of Comcenter College, where she majors in Business Administration.
Yana Krasnikova was born in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev. As a child, Yana had a passion for singing and since then, music has always been an intricate part of her life. She is currently studying and working as a co-author on a book about Ukrainian celebrities in Hollywood.
Alisson Abarca is known for being on top as she was the Valedictorian of her high school graduating class. Currently, she is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in English Language as she hopes to be an English teacher at an English educational program. She hopes to create this program so that teenagers with economical needs can attend. Alisson is certain that education is the key that opens many opportunities leading to success. Alisson has many hobbies including soccer, softball, singing and belly dancing. She loves volunteering at the orphanage Padre Vito Guarato and at her church to help the homeless by providing food, clothing, medicine, toys and games for children. Alisson is looking forward to the upcoming Miss Universe show and hopes to make her country proud.
Before earning the title of Miss Universe Sri Lanka, Christina Peiris became the youngest entrepreneur in her family. Ever since she was young she had a passion for fashion and traveling, leading her to complete her degree in fashion. Christina created a humanitarian clothing brand where she donates a percentage of her earnings to cancer patients. Her friends and family best describe her as funny, hardworking and compassionate to everyone around her.
Lauriela Martins is a first year Architecture major who is currently working on a project where she brings orphans on trips to visit historical landmarks and sites. Lauriela enjoys swimming and other active sports, especially if she can combine them with her love of going to the beach. In 5 years, Lauriela hopes to have finished her studies, and have built a name for herself in the architect industry. This will be Lauriela's 3rd pageant, and she hopes it will be the one that will bring her the Miss Universe crown.
21 year-old Shraddha Shashidhar would best describe herself as adventurous and enthusiastic. A media graduate who specialized in journalism, Shraddha aspires to be a globetrotter and a television host of global repute. Having migrated to 24 states and studied in 11 schools, she is a master of many trades. She is a seasonal face of Nike India, and recipient of outstanding performer in academics by Govt. of India. Shraddha has also done tremendously well at classical dancing, running marathons and athletics. Shraddha is looking forward to competing on the international Miss Universe stage with women from all over the world.
Stefania Incandela would best describe herself as persistent, passionate and strong-willed. She has a degree in public relations and seeks to help children who suffer from domestic violence. Stefania believes children deserve to grow surrounded by affection and happiness to build a better future. In her free time, she can be seen riding her bike. Stefania has competed in three different international pageants, and hopes to take home the crown in her fourth pageant as Miss Universe.
Adar Gandelsman is a second year soldier in the Israeli Defense Force and is passionate about her duties with the force. She comes from a Brazilian family, which is where her inspiration came to build her company; Moda Brasil Fitness. She volunteers at a variety of organizations one including a non-profit Israeli organization named Varaity that works with children with disabilities. At Varaity, Adar spends time with a teenage girl where she helps with homework, play games and simply just has girl talk. Adar hopes to raise awareness for the prevention of dog abuse and hopes to open an animal shelter of her own.
Proudly representing Poland, 26 years old Katarzyna Włodarek is a Physician in the first year of her residency program in Dermatology and Venereology. She is also a PHD student at Medical University in Wrocław where she instructs classes for current medicine students. Katarzyna looked up to her parents growing up, and aspired to follow their success and enter the medical field. Katarzyna's mother had initially been part of Katarzyna's reason for entering into pageantry when she was 16 years old, and since it has always been a part of her life.
Kseniya Aleksandrova graduated from the Plechanov Russian Economic University with a Finance degree while also working as a model. Since the age of 19, she has been working with two Moscow model agencies to support herself financially. She plans to continue her studies and earn a second degree in Journalism.
Although Sophia Koch comes from a small city in the eastern part of Germany, she feels like a citizen of the world rather than simply the girl from a small town. Sophia enjoys keeping herself busy with school and she is studying social studies, language and literature. When she isn’t hitting the books, you can catch her spending her time with photography, making YouTube videos, or working on her modeling. Sophia is passionate about giving children equal opportunity to a happy life and full education, and she actively participates with a couple of groups that have this same goal. Sophia looks forward to using her time with the crown to make an impact on children all over the world.
Growing up in a farmer’s family in an underprivileged rural village of Vietnam, Loan Nguyen spent most of her childhood without parental care and soon left home at 14 years old to lead an independent life. Serving in the army at age 14 helped develop her sense of responsibility, disciplines and maturity much sooner and greater than other peers of her generation. During her path of career-defining, she has done a lot of jobs, including hand-embroidery, tutoring, modeling, business and event hosting. To represent Vietnam at this year’s Miss Universe pageant, she went on a journey of seven years competing in beauty contests. Having done a lot of charity projects in her philanthropy portfolio, she doesn’t stop reaching out and is currently involved in building a school for children in the mountains. She is also building pools to support drowning prevention programs for rural children. Loan wants to win the crown of Miss Universe not only to bring glory to her home country, but also to make a statement that anything is possible if everyone dares to dream and works hard.
Alina Mansur is a multilingual, animal lover born in Miami and raised in Aruba. With a degree in business administration and management, she operates a family owned business and is in the process of developing her own real estate project of vacation rental villas. Alina is ethnically diverse being part Aruban, Lebanese, and Irish heritage. Her passion for animals is clear as she volunteers at the animal shelter and fosters dogs for animal rescue foundations. She's also competed professionally in horse equestrian earning a gold medal. Alina is working on starting her own non-profit spay and neuter foundation in hopes of combating the stray dog and cat population on her island. Through her personal experiences, Alina would like to advocate and raise awareness on the importance mental health.
Olivia Rogers is a qualified speech pathologist specializing in pediatrics. Whilst completing her degree, Olivia started her own business selling her self-taught illustrations and paintings. Besides her medical and artistic work, Olivia has also modeled for 8 years. In her spare time, Olivia manages an Instagram account for her dog Mooshie reaching over 124K followers. Olivia is an ambassador for CanTeen, Captain Courageous, and is a spokesperson for mental health. Olivia hopes to inspire others to manage their mental health issues without feeling embarrassed.
Momoko Abe would best describe herself as athletic and artistic. She is particularly proud of her golf skills, participating in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) tour with her best score at a 68. Momoke enjoys playing the piano, and takes a strong interest in the classics like Beethoven and Mozart. In college, she studied Philosophy and focused her extracurricular time towards participating in volunteer work. One of her proudest moments during volunteering is when she went to an orphanage in Cambodia to visit patients who have AIDS. Since then, she has had a passion for joining the fight against HIV and AIDS.
At the age of 11, Rafieya Husain migrated with her family to the United States. Rafieya is a senior year at Stayer University working towards a degree in Finance. After having been a victim of domestic abuse, she founded a non-profit organization called (RIVAH) Rafieya’s International Vision & Hope. Rafieya has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and educate young people on the early signs of violence in relationships. She has also collaborated with non-profit organizations to open an outreach center that focuses on awareness of the early signs of suicide.
Liesbeth Claus would best describe herself as optimitic and full of energy. She is a disco dancing national champion and is proud to use her art to express her feelings. Liesbeth is studying Business Management with hopes of one day being self-employed businesswoman. Liesbeth hopes that her experience and confidence on stage will win her the Miss Universe crown.
Bunga Jelitha, a professional international model for 12 years now, began her career at 13 years old. Through modeling, she loves to travel and learn about the cultures of the places she visits. Bunga hopes to make history as the first Miss Universe Indonesia to win the title of Miss Universe. If she is crowned Miss Universe, Bunga would use her voice to advocate for protection of children from violence. She would also like to promote better education programs through non-profit organizations. Bunga believes that through her platform, she can inspire women across the world to become leaders and advocate for themselves.
Daniela Cepeda is a third year student studying Psychopedagogy. In her free time, she likes to spend time with her family, travel to the beach, and enjoy the landscape of Ecuador. She believes that every child has the right to a personalized education based upon their differences to help children learn to the full of their potential. If crowned Miss Universe, she would like to create a recreational project for children who are hospitalized that have no access to education.
Arna Ýr Jónsdóttir is an accomplished international print and commercial model who hopes to one day become a midwife. She embraces a healthy lifestyle and with that was inspired to create personal blog about her journey. When she's taking a break from her blog, Arna can be spotted cooking healthy and new recipes. Arna is also athletic and is proud to have been an Icelandic champion in track and field pole vaulting. Arna hopes to make her country proud by taking home the Miss Universe crown.
Maria Poonlertlarp currently lives in her hometown Bangkok. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in International Business Management and a Master's Degree in Marketing. Maria enjoys trying new things, especially foods from different cultures. With Thailand having the second highest rate of teenage pregnancies in SEA, Maria is passionate about sharing the importance of sex education for the safety and health of teens. Maria is also concerned about her countries environment as Thailand is one of the leading SEA countries contributing to trash in the seas. She believes that it will affect the global and national environment, as well as the tourism. If she takes home the crown, Maria hopes to continue to educate and help prevent the two causes that she is most passionate about.
Ariela Machado was born and raised in Asuncion, Paraguay and is currently working on her Business Administration degree at the American University of Asuncion. While finishing her thesis, Ariela is also head of the administration department at an international company called PayGo. She is very dedicated to her community and volunteers at Children's Cancer Residency: Koeju. In her spare time, Ariela can be seen at the gym, painting or listening to music. Ariela is looking forward to making her country proud on the international Miss Universe stage.
Kára McCullough was born in Naples, Italy, but raised in Virginia Beach for the majority of her childhood. Her mother’s position as Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy exposed Kára to many different cultures and places at a young age, including Sicily, Japan, South Korea and Hawaii. For as long as she can remember, Kára has been fascinated with science and the impact it has on our everyday lives, leading her to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Radiochemistry from South Carolina State University. Her major provided her opportunities to intern at many universities, which paved the way to her current career as a scientist for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Kára is the founder of a self-funded community outreach program called “Science Exploration for Kids” (SE4K), which creates interactive activities celebrating math and science to cultivate a passion for STEM among children. Outside of her work for the government and in the community, Kára enjoys cooking specialty foods and rollerblading around the city. Kára is looking forward to meeting this year's contestants and hopes to bring home the Miss Universe crown.
Berenice Quezada Herrera grew up facing many obstacles, but has managed to achieve many of her dreams that have allowed her to support many different charities. Berenice works with Nueva Vida, where she speaks with women to empower and encourage them to become entrepreneurs. She would best consider herself as adventourous as she loves riding horses and swimming. If she brings the Miss Universe crown to her country for the very first time, she will focus on youth education and will continue to support and empower entrepreneur single women to achieve their goals on being successful.
Carmen Muñoz is a practicing lawyer who caught the attention of one of the most successful corporate law firms in her native Dominican Republic when she published her master thesis “Intellectual Property in Dominican Fashion Industry”. This firm also has the empowering quality of being an all-female-firm and Carmen was hired on the spot, but it is her advocacy on behalf of women and children rights what defines her truest passions. This advocacy started in 2013, when Carmen was just a college student. She was chosen to participate in a debate in front of the Dominican Congress on the subject of Child Law. She is also vice-president of “Making Big Smiles” a charitable organization aiding communities in primary needs. If Carmen takes home the Miss Universe crown, she would like to focus on the high risk of teenage pregnancy in her country.