In a live telecast from Las Vegas on Nov. 26, judges crowned Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, representing South Africa, the new Miss Universe. As photos of the winner multiplied over the internet, people were quick to point out that Nel-Peters appears to have a doppelgänger — another Miss Universe champion.
Following her coronation, commenters flooded social media with tweets about how the new beauty queen bears an incredible resemblance to Miss Universe 2006 from Puerto Rico. “Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters looks a lot like Zuleyka Rivera,” one person tweeted. Another added: “Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is giving me this Zuleyka Rivera feels. Super fierce yet sweet and sultry at the same time.”
The fervor over the likeness reached Rivera, who shared her opinions on the internet meme. “I don’t know. I’ve seen some pictures,” she said on the Spanish-language program Lo Sé Todo. “I don’t know why people say [we look alike]. Maybe there are similarities, but physically we are very different.”
It’s possible that all the noise over an uncanny resemblance stems from the fact that Rivera was one of the last Miss Universes to wear the iconic Mikimoto crown, as seen in the side-by-side photos posted on social media. The Japanese-designed headpiece, switched out after the 2008 contest, was reintroduced for the crowning of Nel-Peters.
Nel-Peters has yet to share her thoughts on her pageant-winning twin. The beauty queen is currently on her press tour in New York City, where she will reside during her year-long reign. The 22-year-old is focused on her Unbreakable campaign, a self-defense program inspired by her own experience being carjacked at gunpoint and almost kidnapped in June.