South African model Zozibini Tunzi took home the 2019 Miss Universe title at the annual pageant held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.
The 26-year-old beat off 20 other contestants to emerge the winner. She was up against Miss Madison Anderson from Puerto Rico and Miss Sofía Aragon from Mexico, who took home second and third place respectively.
She also became the third South African to win the coveted title, after Margaret Gardiner (1978) and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters (2017).
Speaking at the event, she encouraged young girls to learn to love and appreciate themselves no matter their skin color.
“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 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.
“Tonight a door was opened and I could not be more grateful to have been the one to have walked through it. May every little girl who witnessed this moment forever believe in the power of her dreams…”
She was born on September 18, 1993, in Tsolo, South Africa – is also the reigning Miss South Africa 2019.
She graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Image Management in 2018.