You may remember on March 26, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters was crowned Miss South Africa 2017. She was a crowd favorite to win on Coronation Night.
Shortly after the pageant, the public began questioning whether pageants were still relevant because they felt that the contestants could not express their natural beauty. (Read: Backlash Following Miss South Africa 2017 Crowning)
New Controversy Surfaces
Although that backlash from the public has died down, backlash from the contestants has begun. More than 15 other contestants have come forward to accuse two of judges of being biased in their judging.
Contestants have come forward and accused two judges, Melinda Bam and Claudia Henkel, of favoritism towards Nel-Peters. Both judges are former Miss South Africa winners and were believed to have a long-standing relationship with Nel-Peters.
Henkel has spoken publicly about this allegation saying that she and her fellow judges did not have any favoritism. The scores and contestants were not discussed among the judges and the scores were independently audited. Henkel goes on to say that although she had interacted with Nel-Peters and a few other girls previously, she intentionally distanced herself after agreeing to judge the pageant.
Although all of the contestants meet with the organization staff for the opportunity to discuss any issues they may have had, the allegations of favoritism were not mentioned during the meeting. In Henkel’s opinion, jealousy is to blame for these allegations. (Read: How to Tell If a Pageant is Rigged)
We have not seen a comment on the controversy from Nel-Peters at this time. We hope that she’s keeping her head up among all the rumors!