South Africa’s very own Zozibini Tunzi has just been crowned as Miss Universe 2019!
Atlanta, United States of America – South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe 2019 on Sunday night in the 68th edition of the Miss Universe competition.
In what is South Africa’s third big pageant win after the recent victory in 2017, the 26-year-old beauty queen beat out 89 other contestants during the pageant held in Atlanta.
The initial 90 contestants were narrowed down to 20 semifinalists during a closed-door competition before Sunday’s three-hour live TV event. And following a series of traditional pageant-style events — including the ever-popular swimsuit and evening gown rounds — this year’s Top 10 was revealed: Colombia, France, Iceland, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Thailand and the United States
Tunzi was finally crowned as Miss Universe after excelling through all the rounds of the night and, questions on social issues and one final chance to explain why she was the right choice. The talented South African earned cheers during her closing speech, a new segment of the competition, in which she talked about wanting to empower young women to feel confident.
“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,” she said in her last response.
“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 began her pageantry career in 2017 when she was accepted as one of the top 26 semifinalists of Miss South Africa 2017, although she was not selected as one of the twelve finalists. She returned to pageantry to compete in the Miss South Africa 2019 competition. Of the initial applications, Tunzi was selected to continue as one of the top 35 semifinalists after being confirmed as one on 26 June 2019.
After further auditions, Tunzi was announced as one of the sixteen finalists on 11 July.
After being selected as one of the finalists, Tunzi went on to compete in the Miss South Africa 2019 competition in Pretoria on 9 August. She progressed through the stages of the final, advancing to the top ten, then top five, and finally the top two until she was crowned the winner by predecessor Tamaryn Green, besting runner-up Sasha-Lee Olivier.
Following her win, Tunzi received prizes including R1 million, a new car, and a fully furnished apartment in the Sandton neighbourhood of Johannesburg, which is valued at R5 million, for her to use throughout her reign. The achievement allowed Tunzi to represent South Africa at the Miss Universe 2019 competition.
Tunzi’s win is South Africa’s third Miss Universe crown; she is the first black woman to win the Miss Universe title since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011, and has also been lauded for being the first to compete with her natural afro-textured hair.
Watch the incredible final question and answer below: