WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi has won this year’s Miss Universe pageant on Sunday night, besting about 90 other contestants from different countries.
- The 26-year-old public relations professional is an activist whose platform is largely based on her fight against gender-based violence.
- The 2019 Miss Universe pageant featured amazing women from a variety of different backgrounds, including the history-making Miss Myanmar, Swe Zin Htet, the the pageant’s first openly gay contestant.
Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi has won the crown this year for Miss Universe, beating out almost 90 other contestants from various countries.
According to her contestant biography, the 26-year-old Tunzi is a public relations professional and an activist whose platform is largely based on her fight against gender-based violence.
“She has devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes,” her bio reads. “She is a proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are.”
This year’s pageant was held Sunday at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson is first runner-up while Miss Mexico Sofía Aragón came in third place.
Tunzi spoke candidly about the importance of diversity and how her own life had been shaped by racial attitudes.
“Society has been programmed for a very long time that never saw beauty in a way that was black girl magic, but now we are slowing moving to a time where women like myself can finally find a place in society, can finally know they’re beautiful.”
Tunzi said she was bringing “a new, fresh and different perspective of what South Africa is.” And she said she hoped to lift other voices up as well — so that, as a chorus, they could be heard.
“I believe that whatever we put into the universe always come back to us, and I think that if we all work together and do all that we can, truly we can make a change,” she added.
The 2019 Miss Universe pageant, which aired live from Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, featured an impressive group of women from a variety of different backgrounds, including the history-making Miss Myanmar, Swe Zin Htet.
The 21-year-old candidate is Miss Universe’s first openly gay contestant, and only just came out as a lesbian days ago, something she recently told PEOPLE she timed to coincide with her moment in the spotlight.
“I have that platform that, if I say that I’m a lesbian, it will have a big impact on the LGBTQ community back in Burma,” she said through a translator, adding that homosexuality remains a crime in her country.