Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 28 January 2020

South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi wins Miss Universe 2019: 'I grew up in a world where a woman like me wasn't considered beautiful'

The South African inherits the crown from Catriona Gray of the Phlippines

South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday, December 8, receiving the crown from the 2018 winner, Catriona Gray of the Philippines.

Tunzi was lauded for her astute responses to questions regarding current affairs and social issues.

In her closing remarks, when she was telling the audience why she should win, she 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 ... I think it is time that 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," she said in her impassioned closing remarks.

In the final two, Tunzi was up against Puerto Rico's Madison Anderson. Mexico's Sofia Aragon came third. Upon hearing host Steve Harvey call her name, crowning her Miss Universe, Tunzi held her face in her hands and was embraced by Anderson.

Before crowning Tunzi, an emotional Catriona Gray took to the stage in her crown and a blue ball gown, with a voiceover from her saying: “to my beloved Philippines, isang karangalan po ito [it is an honour]. You endlessly inspire me and give me hope.

“Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat [Thank you all]. Above all, thank you God. I lift everything to glorify and honour you. As I close this chapter, I do so with a grateful heart.” Her gown was designed by Filipino designer Mak Tumang, who also designed her 2018 winning gown.

Evidently the crowd was delighted for Tunzi's win, and she has been congratulated by fans the world over since winning. "I just met a real life queen," Patrick Starr tweeted of Tunzi.

While Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, a South African model who was Miss Universe 2017, wrote: "South Africa, she did it! Congratulations [Zozibini Tunzi] what a woman you are! Ps: I have a NYC to do list for you."

Updated: December 9, 2019 01:58 PM

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