Zozibini Tunzi, the South African crowned Miss Universe 2019 yesterday, during an event in Atlanta, United States, took advantage of the visibility of the contest to draw attention to how racism affects the self-esteem of black girls and women.
“Society has long been programmed not to see black beauty. But now we’re entering a time where women like me can finally know we’re beautiful,” she said.
“I grew up in a world where women like me, with my skin and my hair, were never considered beautiful. It’s time to stop this. I want kids to look at me and see their faces reflected in mine,” replied Tunzi at the end, when asked what her main performance would be if she won. The final show took place in Atlanta (USA) and had a total of 90 misses.
This isn’t the first time a South African has won the title of most beautiful woman in the world — two others have already been crowned: Margaret Gardiner, in 1978, and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, almost 40 years later, in 2017.
On the other hand, it has been eight years since a black woman won the Miss Universe. The last was the Angolan Leila Lopes, in 2011.
“Tonight a door opened and I couldn’t be more grateful to have been the one who walked through it. May every little girl who witnessed this moment believe forever in the power of their dreams and may they see their faces reflected in mine. I proudly declare myself as Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019!” he wrote.
The South African Zozibini Tunzi won the Miss Universe 2019, in an event held in Atlanta, United States, this Sunday, 8.
“Society was programmed for a long time not to see black beauty. But now we’re entering a time where women like me can finally know we’re beautiful.”
Zozibini tunzi, is the newest Miss Universe 2019, with elegance, honoring her origins and very aware that she opened doors.
it’s good to see that we are building a better, more inclusive, diverse and very real world. 😉
Women’s websites or those specializing in this type of contest said that Zozibini impressed judges with her naturalness and her captivating smile, but also with her ideals against racism and gender inequality.
Before the victory, Tunzi spoke about the importance of representation in an engaged speech: “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my skin and hair type, is never considered beautiful. That ends today. I want the children to see their faces reflected in mine.”
She also commented on female leadership and the aesthetic pressures that come during competition. She had 89 contestants. “Leadership has been lacking in young women for a long time. But after society labeled them as they should be, this became a wish.”
“I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It is something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a long time. Not because we don’t want to, but because of what society defined what women would be,” she said.
Yeah, the beauty contests seem to have changed a lot. Today, it’s not just about analyzing the candidate’s physical beauty. Personality and intelligence are among the skills considered by the juries of national and international competitions.
Tunzi is a model, graduated in public relations and image management. She worked as an intern in the Ogilvy Cape Town PR department and began participating in beauty pageants while still a student. In 2015, she was named Miss Mamelodi Sundowns and, in 2017, Miss South Africa’s semi-finalist. But in her second attempt this year, she won the title in her country. The prize included a car and a mobilized apartment in the upscale neighborhood of Sandton, Johannesburg, where she will continue to live during “her reign”
It is the third time that South Africa has won the award. In 1978, the country was victorious with Margaret Gardiner, and in 2017, with Leigh Nel-Peters. Zozibini was the only black woman to receive the title since 2011, when Leila Lopes won representing Angola. The miss criticized the prejudice against black women.
So many editions and, until today, only five black women were considered the most beautiful in the world. But they already represented a few steps, each one in her own time. In the photo above, I have brought together the four predecessors of Zozibini Tunzi: two from Trinidad Tobago, one from California and the other from Angola.
The first was elected in 1977: Janelle Commissiong (left in photo) from Trinidad and Tobago. This happened after 25 years of the contest’s existence.
In 1995, the winner was Chelsi Smith, from California. The contest was held in Windhoek, Namibia. Those were other times and the title made her a model for big fashion brands. She also became an actress in television series, in addition to recording a single album, which was part of the soundtrack for the film Tudo Pra Ficar com Ele.
Wendy Fitzwilliam, a lawyer from Trinidad and Tobago (again!!), won the title in 1998, beating 80 competitors.
Thirteen years later, in 2011, in Brazil, it was the turn of Angolan Leila Lopes to be elected (far right, in the photo). On the occasion, after the victory, she declared: “Racists should seek help because it is not normal for a person to think like that in the 21st century.” And she added: “Any kind of prejudice is unfounded.”