From Miss USA to Miss Universe, every year our television is graced by many beauty pageants. This year’s Miss Universe competition was held on December 8, 2019 at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States and saw 3 contestants from Mexico, Puerto Rico and South Africa land in the final. After Sofía Aragón, the Mexican beauty, was announced as the 2nd Runner-Up, everyone held their breaths to hear who was the winner of this year’s Miss Universe title, Madison Anderson or Zozibini Tunzi. And behold, the host, Steve Harvey, announced (thankfully he didn’t mess up this year!) that it’s Miss South Africa who snatched the crown.

And while the crowning moment is, perhaps, most satisfying to watch, after congratulating her on the win, many people looked back and focused on what message Zozibini Tunzi channeled throughout the competition. Some, including model and businesswoman Naomi Campbell, praised Zozi for expressing her beliefs about beauty standards and how her presence and titles were changing what was once considered a norm.

On December 8, Miss Universe 2019 was crowned and it’s South African contestant, Zozibini Tunzi!

Image credits: zozitunzi

Tunzi is the first black woman to be crowned Miss Universe since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe in 2011 and the third woman from South Africa to win the title. The woman started her career in pageantry in 2017, but she had come a long way before that.

This is what Zozibini had to say in regards to beauty and her image

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Born on 18 September 1993, the 26-year-old woman hails from Tsolo, Eastern Cape. One of three sisters, Zozi was raised in the village of Sidwadweni and says that she owes everything to her parents, Philiswa Nadapu and Lungisa Tunzi. In one of the Instagram posts, Miss Universe described their relationship: “I am because you are. You’ve given me life, you’ve raised me to be the woman I am so that I can stand in a faraway land proudly knowing where I’m rooted and where I come from. You’ve sacrificed so much and fought battles I don’t even know about, everything so that we could have all the opportunities the Universe has to offer. I am forever grateful and hope to make you proud, every single day of my life!”

Zozi’s answer to the final question of the competition focused on what we should teach young girls today

 

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Tunzi has a bachelor’s degree in public relations and image management from Cape Peninsula University of Technology that she acquired in 2018. A year before that, she had her first go at Miss South Africa, where she was picked as one of the top 26 semifinalists, however she was not selected as one of the twelve finalists. Determined, Zozibini returned in 2019 and made it all the way to the top, earning the crown of Miss South Africa that gave her the opportunity to represent her country at the Miss Universe competition.

Image credits: zozitunzi

Image credits: zozitunzi

“I have been very vocal about my mission to break beauty stereotypes,” Zozi wrote on one of her social media posts, stressing the importance of her message. “I believe in inclusion and representation in every shape and form,” the young woman stated. She had the perfect chance to reaffirm her cause as one of the contestants of Miss Universe 2019.

Image credits: zozitunzi

Image credits: zozitunzi

After the competition was over, many people quoted what Tunzi said on stage, especially her take on beauty standards: “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful. I think it is time that that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine.” Tunzi is the first woman with afro-textured hair to win the title of Miss Universe.

Image credits: zozitunzi

Image credits: zozitunzi

Here’s how people reacted to Zozi’s win

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