Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi Crowned Miss Universe 2019
For the first time in history, all four major pageant titles are held by Black women.
Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, was crowned Miss Universe, Sunday night at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, reports CNN.
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She beat out 89 other contestants with Miss Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson, and Miss Mexico, Sofía Aragón, coming in second and third, respectively.
Tunzi was crowned while wearing her short, natural hair.
a dark skin black woman with short natural hair won not only miss SA but miss universe. the importance of that is not lost on me at all https://t.co/s4VOLIbg2x— foyin 🍯 (@foyinog) December 9, 2019
“I grew up in a world where women who look like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful. And I think it’s time that it stops today,” she said during her final statement. “I want children to look at me, and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in me.”
“I grew up in a world where women who look like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered to be beautiful. And I think it’s time that it stops today. I want children to look at me, and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in me.” 🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/vQnR0RkIBc— rÁfaga Christmas Season (@rvfaell) December 9, 2019
When asked by host Steve Harvey what we should be teaching young girls, the 26-year-old gender-based violence advocate said leadership.
"It's something that 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 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."
After the pageant, the model took to Instagram to express her gratitude for being chosen as Miss Universe.
“Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it. May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine,” she captioned the photo.
View this post on Instagram
Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it. May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine. I proudly state my name Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019!
Tunzi is the first Black woman to hold the title since Leila Lopes earned the title in 2011, and, for the first time in history, all four major pageant titles are held by Black women.
Miss America, Nia Franklin; Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst; and Miss Teen USA, Kaliegh Garris were all coronated earlier this year as Blavity previously reported.
For the FIRST time in history, Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe are ALL BLACK WOMEN 🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/xwi5ktn4Ct— MEFeater Magazine (@mefeater) December 9, 2019
Earlier this year, before the Miss Universe competition, Kryst told Marie Claire that she was excited to continue the legacy her mother had begun in making history.
“I couldn’t be more ecstatic!” she said. “It was really cool that everybody not only noticed but was proud and excited about it. My mom is a former Mrs. North Carolina United States. She was one of the first black women to win that title. I remember the significance of her win and how excited I was that she had reached that milestone, and now I’m following in her footsteps.”
Like Tunzi, Kryst and Garris also accepted their title with a head full of natural hair.
“I just thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I be able to wear my hair like this in an event that celebrates beauty in women?’ Kára McCullough, a former Miss USA, won with almost the exact same hairstyle two years ago. I remember being nervous, thinking, ‘I wonder if two women can win this close to each other?’ But I was like, ‘why not? If two blond women can win back-to-back, why can’t two with naturally curly hair?’” Kryst said.