South African model Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe 2019 on Sunday night. The beauty pageant titleholder was previously crowned Miss South Africa 2019.
The 26-year-old chocolate beauty beat out 89 other contestants during the pageant held in Atlanta. She is the third woman from South Africa to win the title, and the first black woman since Leila Lopes.
Her Miss Universe biography describes her as a “passionate activist” who is “engaged in the fight against gender based violence.\She has devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes. She is a proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are,” per her bio..
Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson was the first runner up and Miss Mexico Sofia Aragon was the second runner-up.
The final three were asked on-stage: “What is the most important thing you should be teaching young girls today?”
Tunzi answered: “leadership.”“It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time … because of what society has labeled women to be,” she said.
“I think we are the most powerful beings in the world, and that we should be given every opportunity, and that is what we should be teaching these young girls, to take up space,” Tunzi continued.
“Nothing is as important as taking up space in the society and cementing yourself.”
Sunday night on stage, she also spoke candidly about the importance of diversity and how her own life had been shaped by racial attitudes.
“Society has been programmed for a very long time that never saw beauty in a way that was black girl magic, but now we are slowing moving to a time where women like myself can finally find a place in society, can finally know they’re beautiful.”
Tunzi said she was bringing “a new, fresh and different perspective of what South Africa is.” And she said she hoped to lift other voices up as well — so that, as a chorus, they could be heard.
“I believe that whatever we put into the universe always come back to us, and I think that if we all work together and do all that we can, truly we can make a change,” she said.