Who is Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi?

by FM Ganal
Dec 9, 2019
Meet the new reigning Miss Universe queen, South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi, the voice of women empowerment.
PHOTO/S: @zozitunzi on Instagram

South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi is the new Miss Universe titleholder.

According to her Miss Universe profile, the 26-year-old beauty queen is a "passionate activist and engaged in the fight against gender based violence."

Zozibini uses social media to change the "narrative around gender stereotypes."

She is also a "proud advocate of natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are."

During the Miss Universe 2019 grand coronation night at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, Zozibini promoted natural beauty, proudly flaunting her natural hair.

The Miss Universe 2019 grand coronation happened on December 9, 2019, Manila Time.


Zozibini became an instant "icon" for black beauty when she won the Miss South Africa crown in August 2019, her image igniting online conversations about what real beauty is.

Talking to SABC Digital News in August, Zozibini said people were "not used to people who look like me winning the crown with my kind of hair and my kind of skin.


"People were debating about beauty and for me, beauty is subjective. You look how you look depending on who’s looking at you.

"Colorism has been a very big problem. I don't know how it started and I don't know how we can end it.

"I don't know how I can make people see that beauty is not about skin color or how you look."

Zozibini then referred to Hollywood actress Lupita Nyong'o, who is the first Kenyan actress to win an Academy Award, as an example of global African beauty.

"She is beautiful in every right, but it's quite difficult for people to see that because, I guess, they have been programmed to not see black as being beautiful.

"And so, the blacker you are, the further away you are from beauty.

"And I think in order to fix that, we have to love ourselves first and teach ourselves how to love themselves.

"And I think we are really on the right track… I received a message this morning on my Instagram from a mother, who says her four-year-old was so happy when I won because I look like her and she recognizes herself in me.

"It gave her that confidence that she can do anything she wants to do.

"It's things like this that will influence change. One step at a time. We can't change it all today."


What is it like for her, a model and a graduate in public relations, to be an "icon for natural African beauty"?

In an interview with South African program Expresso Show in October 2019, Zozibini said, "It just comes naturally. I don't feel like I have to pretend or be that person that they think I am.

"It's actually quite wonderful that people look at it that way and feel like they can be comfortable with who they are as well.

"So, for me, it is absolutely fantastic and I'm just happy that people are finally embracing it for what it is."


In her same interview with SABC Digital News in August, Zozibini said the reason why she joined Miss South Africa was to do something purposeful with her life.

She said, "I was just saying to the judges the other day when we had our final interview, they said, 'Why are you really here?'


"I said to them, 'I feel like I wake up and I go to work and I go to school every day, but I'm not really doing anything impactful for my country and for myself.'

"I just wanted to do something purposeful because, really, I've always been influenced by people who have big dreams...

"I just wanted to actually get to that point in my life as well where I can say I'm actually one of the people who did something great for their country."

At the Miss South Africa competition, this was one of Zozibini's final questions: "If you had the opportunity to be an adviser to the president, what advice would you give that would ensure better South Africa for all?"

In her answer, Zozibini revealed her passion for education.

She said: "I am a firm believer on education. I come from the Eastern Cape and this is one of the most disadvantaged provinces in the country.

"I would really advise that they push on education and that they start from a very young age.

"Maybe there's nothing much that can be done for the elders, but we can do so much more for children.

"It is the most painful thing to see when children don't have shelters over their head or bridges to get to school."

Then in her winning answer at the Miss Universe 2019 coronation night, Zozibini also stressed women empowerment by encouraging society to welcome more female leaders in the global field.

The reigining Miss Universe queen said, "I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership.

"It's something it has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time, not because we don't want to, but because of what society has labelled women to be.

"I think we are the most powerful beings on the world and that we should be given every opportunity, and that is what we what we should teaching there young girls — to take up space.

"Nothing is important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself. Thank you."


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Meet the new reigning Miss Universe queen, South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi, the voice of women empowerment.
PHOTO/S: @zozitunzi on Instagram
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