Miss Universe 2019

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“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”- Zozibini Tunzi
Zozibini Tunzi, formerly known as Miss South Africa, was recently crowned Miss Universe of 2019. She is a young, gifted and an outspoken believer in ‘black girl magic’. Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe Sunday night after going through rounds of swimsuit and evening gown walks, questions on social issues and one final chance to explain why she was the right choice. She took this opportunity to speak out about the importance of shifting antiquated beauty standards.
According to npr.org, Tunzi said, “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,” during her closing statement. “I think it is time 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 competition’s first black winner in eight years since Leila Lopes took home the crown in 2011. In her official Miss Universe bio, the 26-year-old is described as a strong proponent of natural beauty who “encourages women to love themselves as they are.”
She represented this when she showed off her hair in a short, natural style during the pageant, which she said was “a symbol of my firm belief in fair representation.”
Her outfit in the national costume segment even reflected her views and beliefs. Tunzi had asked South African men to demonstrate their solidarity with the gender equality campaign #HeforShe by writing letters to honor and celebrate South African women. The letters, written on colorful ribbons, were woven into her costume, which was called “Wave of Love.”
Her crowning ceremony at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta received a wide amount of social media support and celebration from around the world, people noting how exciting it is to see that Miss America, Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and now Miss Universe are all black women this year.
During the Q&A segment, Tunzi stated that individuals, government officials, and big corporations should be taking action toward protecting the planet, noting that it’s about time adults listen to young children who have taken part in climate protests.
When asked what she thinks is the most important thing young girls should be taught today, Tunzi responded: “I think the most important thing … is leadership.”
“It’s something that has been lacking in young women and girls for a very long time, not because we don’t want to but because of what society has labeled women to be,” she added. “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.”