Former Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters will soon be hearing wedding bells after Tim Tebow popped the question to her this week.
The former NFL quarterback proposed to Nel-Peters, 23, at sunset on Wednesday at his family’s farm outside of Jacksonville, Florida, PEOPLE exclusively revealed.
Tebow, 31, sealed the deal with a 7.25-carat solitaire ring and secretly flew Nel-Peters’ family and closest friends from South Africa to Florida to witness the intimate engagement.
The couple first starting dating over the summer, with Tebow confirming the news during an interview with ESPN.
“She is a really special girl and I am very lucky and blessed for her coming into my life,” he said. “I am usually very private with these things but I am very thankful.”
Here’s everything to know about the athlete’s wife-to-be.
1. She is the former Miss South Africa and Miss Universe 2017
After being crowned Miss South Africa in March 2017, Nel-Peters instantly qualified for both the Miss Universe and Miss Worlds pageant. Due to their proximity of their competition dates, Nel-Peters chose to attend the Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Las Vegas — her first time visiting the United States.
She eventually went on to win Miss Universe in November, becoming just the second titleholder from South Africa. The last woman to claim the title from the country was Margaret Gardiner in 1978.
Of her time as Miss Universe, Nel-Peters revealed it “wasn’t what I expected it to be at all.”
“The role exceeded all my expectations and surprised me with the most everlasting experiences and memories,” she said on Instagram. “I got to explore countries in every corner of the world, meet thousands of people, learn new languages and experience new cultures and perspectives.”
2. She has a background in business
Nel-Peters received her bachelor’s degree in business management from North-West University in South Africa. She’s also fluent in both English and Afrikaans.
As a student in high school, Nel-Peters made history for holding two leadership positions, according to her biography on Miss Universe.
“I was the first girl in my high school to be chosen as head girl of both my school and my hostel,” she further explained to Jacaranda FM. “I was also elected as the Deputy Junior Mayor of the George City Council in grade 11.”
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3. She’s inspired by her half-sister — and ambitious women
In an interview with Jacaranda FM, Nel-Peters revealed that her sister, who was born without a key brain structure, was her biggest motivation.
“It’s always been his dream to go into the hospitality industry,” she said. “I have a 10-year-old half-sister, Franje. She is my dad and step-mom’s daughter. She was born without a cerebellum and is completely disabled. She is my biggest motivator in life (and she has the most beautiful lashes any girl can dream of).”
As for her role models? Nel-Peters told the radio station, “I admire woman like Marissa Mayer, the first female engineer and then CEO of Yahoo. Women who don’t only strive to be the equals of men, but who strive to live up to their full potential.”
4. Like Tebow, she is a Christian
Opening up to PEOPLE in 2017, Tebow revealed he was searching for a lady who prioritized her Christian faith.
“They have to really love God,” he explained of his future significant other. “My faith is important to me — it’s the most important thing — and I need to be with someone who also shares that faith.”
And Nel-Peters seems to check that box perfectly, recently sharing a post on Instagram that reflected upon her year and touched on her religious beliefs.
“First and foremost all the glory goes to my Heavenly Father and savior, Jesus Christ,” she wrote. “In Jeremiah 29:11 He makes this promise: ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ I had a dream of becoming an influential young woman in my country, but His dream for me was so much bigger. I am forever grateful for al the experiences He has blessed me with in my life.”
5. She is a firm believer in women learning self-defense — and it once saved her life!
During the Miss Universe pageant, Nel-Peters said that she wanted to teach self-defense workshops to women — an issue with which she has a personal history.
While she was the reigning Miss South Africa, she was carjacked — and the attackers tried to force her into the car. She punched one of them in the throat and escaped.
“I escaped unharmed and in the safest way possible thanks to the knowledge I previously gained about how to handle life-threatening situations,” she said of the traumatic incident.
RELATED VIDEO: Miss South Africa Has Been Crowned Miss Universe 2017
6. As part of her passion for self-defense, she started an #Unbreakable campaign
The campaign, which aims at empowering women around the world with skills and knowledge on how to prevent or handle abusive and violent situations, was started in 2017.
“Becoming Miss Universe made me realize that women worldwide face the same challenges daily, such as various forms of violence and crime, physical and emotional abuse, and toxic relationships, among others,” Nel-Peters said after the launch.
“My hope is that Unbreakable will inspire women to believe in themselves, to value themselves and to know that asking for help does not mean you are weak,” she said.
“Most importantly, I hope that Unbreakable will not only teach women life-saving skills and knowledge on how to handle unwanted situations but also helps them realize that if we as women take hands and stand together, we are Unbreakable,” Nel-Peters added.
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