Last night’s broadcast of the Miss Universe pageant was one for the record books. Not only was it filmed on Tyler Perry’s Studios, Miss Myanmar, Swe Zin Htet, said she was the first openly gay contestant, and it was the first time a Black South African walked away with the crown and the title.
In the history of Miss Universe and Miss World, five other South African women have been given the title of Miss World or Miss Universe in the past, but they’ve never been Black. And not for nothing, it’s exceptionally important that this year’s winner, Ms. Zozibini Tunzi, a 26-year-old public relations professional and activist fighting against gender-based violence, took the top prize rocking short, natural, Afro-textured hair.
In an interview with the BBC, Tunzi, an advocate for natural beauty, 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 that it is time that that stops today.”
We love to see it.
According to the BBC, Tunzi, a native of Tsolo on the Eastern Cape of the African nation, was the first Black woman to win Miss Universe since 2011 when Angolan Leila Lopes won the award. She offered her congratulations to Tunzi on Instagram, writing, “”Congrats girl you did us very proud.”
In addition to her striking beauty, Tunzi’s answers throughout the competition were thoughtful and incredibly relevant. For her final question, she was asked, what we need to be teaching your girls today. She said 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 on 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.”
The answer caused an eruption of applause from the audience.
On her own Instagram page, Tunzi wrote this about the win.
See what people across the world had to say in celebration of Tunzi’s historic win on the following pages.