Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa is Miss Universe 2019
Miss Universe Organization/Patrick Prather
Newly crowned Miss Universe 2019 touches on gender-based violence 
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - December 9, 2019 - 12:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was crowned as Miss Universe 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday.

She comes next in line after the reign of former Miss Universe Catriona Gray, a Filipina. 

Before winning the title of Miss South Africa, Zozibini was working towards a graduate degree in Public Relations Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. 

Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados, who made it to the Miss Universe semifinals via wildcard and later failed to make it to the top 10 finalists, said she liked Zozibini because their first names sounded alike.

For many viewers, it was Tunzi's empowering answers that set her apart from 89 other contestants.

Advocacy against gender-based violence 

Asked what one thing girls needed to be taught today, the 26-year-old's answer was straightforward. 

"I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership," she said, lamenting the culture that limits what women can do in society. 

"It’s something that has been lacking [with] 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. I think we are the most powerful beings in the world and that we should be given every opportunity." 

The Public Relations student's advocacy for women was clear from the get-go, as she bested tight competition en route to the crown. 

“She has devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes,” her Miss Universe biography reads.

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

'Never considered to be beautiful'

Her statements reflected similar themes all throughout. 

Later on in her final statement, the Miss Universe titleholder also touched on what she said were limiting standards of beauty in society. 

"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. And I think that it is time that that stops today," she said in her final statement. 

"I want children to look at me and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine."

Her coronation marks the third time the holder of the prestigious Miss Universe title hailed from South Africa.

"[W]hat we should be teaching these young girls [is for them] to take up space," she finished. 

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

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