Zozibini Tunzi Miss Universe 2019
Best National Costume: Gazini Ganados; Philippines
Location: Tyler Perry Studios, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Date: December 8, 2019, 8:00 PM GMT-4
Congeniality: Olga Buława; Poland
Withdrawals: Ghana; Greece; Guatemala; Hungary; Kyrgyzstan; Lebanon; Russia; Sri Lanka; Switzerland; Zambia
Presented by: Steve Harvey, Olivia Culpo, Vanessa Minnillo
Miss Universe 2019, the 68th Miss Universe pageant, was held on December 8, 2019 at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. Catriona Gray of the Philippines crowned her successor Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa at the end of the event. This is South Africa’s third win after their recent victory in 2017. This edition also saw the crowning of the first black woman winner since Leila Lopes was crowned in 2011.
Contestants from 90 countries and territories participated in this year’s competition. The pageant was hosted by Steve Harvey in his fifth consecutive year, with Olivia Culpo and Vanessa Lachey as backstage correspondents, and with a performance by Ally Brooke.
The new Mouawad Power of Unity crown made its debut. Swe Zin Htet of Myanmar became the first openly lesbian contestant to compete for the Miss Universe title.
On October 31, 2019, the Miss Universe Organization confirmed that the competition would be held on December 8, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia, United States at Tyler Perry Studios.
Zozibini Tunzi (born 18 September 1993) is a South African model and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Universe 2019. Tunzi had previously been crowned Miss South Africa 2019. She is the third woman from South Africa to win the title, and the first black woman since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011.
With her win, 2019 became the first year that all four major United States-based pageants were won by black women; other titleholders were Nia Franklin (Miss America 2019), Kaliegh Garris (Miss Teen USA 2019), and Cheslie Kryst (Miss USA 2019).
Additionally, 2019 would also become the first year that black women won the two most prestigious international pageants after Toni-Ann Singh of Jamaica later won Miss World 2019.
Tunzi was born in Tsolo, Eastern Cape to parents Philiswa Nodapu and Lungisa Tunzi, and raised in the nearby village of Sidwadweni.
Tunzi is one of four sisters.
She later moved to Cape Town, settling in the Gardens suburb in order to attend Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She graduated with a National Diploma in public relations management in 2018.
In 2017, Tunzi was working as a model and living in East London, Eastern Cape.
Prior to winning Miss South Africa, Tunzi was completing a Bachelor of Technology graduate degree in public relations management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and worked as a graduate intern in the public relations department of Ogilvy Cape Town.
Career – Miss Universe – Miss South Africa 2019
Tunzi began her pageantry career in 2017, when she was accepted as one of the top 26 semifinalists of Miss South Africa 2017. She returned to pageantry to compete in Miss South Africa 2019. On 26 June 2019, Tunzi was confirmed as one of the top 35 semifinalists of the competition, among initial applications. After further auditions, Tunzi was announced as one of the sixteen finalists on 11 July.
After being selected as one of the finalists, Tunzi went on to compete in the Miss South Africa 2019 pageant in Pretoria on 9 August. She progressed through the stages of the final, advancing to the top ten, then top five, and finally the top two until she was crowned the winner by predecessor Tamaryn Green, besting runner-up Sasha-Lee Olivier.
Following her win, Tunzi received prizes including R1 million, a new car, and a fully furnished apartment in the Sandton neighbourhood of Johannesburg, which is valued at R5 million, for her to use throughout her reign. The achievement allowed Tunzi to represent South Africa at the Miss Universe 2019 competition.
Miss Universe 2019
Tunzi arrived in Atlanta, Georgia for Miss Universe 2019 in November 2019.
She competed in the preliminaries on 6 December, and competed in the finals on 8 December at Tyler Perry Studios. During the competition, Tunzi advanced to the top twenty as the first semifinalist for the Africa/Asia-Pacific continental region.
She then advanced to the top ten, then the top five, and ultimately the final three. By the end of the event, Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe 2019 by outgoing titleholder Catriona Gray of the Philippines, besting first runner-up Madison Anderson of Puerto Rico and second runner-up Sofía Aragón of Mexico.
Tunzi’s win is South Africa’s third Miss Universe crown; she is the first black woman to win the Miss Universe title since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011, and the first to do so with afro-textured hair. During the final round, the top three were each asked the same question: “What is the most important thing we should teach young girls today?” To which Tunzi replied:
I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is 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 labelled women to be. 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, nothing is as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself, thank you.
As Miss Universe, Tunzi will reside in New York City, and will take part in a number of events and appearances throughout the world. After winning Miss Universe, Tunzi was succeeded as Miss South Africa by her first runner-up Sasha-Lee Olivier.
In her capacity as Miss Universe, Tunzi has traveled to Indonesia, various cities and states within the United States, and her home country of South Africa.