Miss South Africa wins 2019 Miss Universe crown
ATLANTA: Miss South Africa was crowned Miss Universe in Atlanta on Sunday after a lavish ceremony filled with glitter and heartfelt talk about female empowerment.
Zozibini Tunzi, 26, finished first ahead of the Puerto Rican and Mexican finalists in a flashy televised event hosted by Steve Harvey, an American comic-turned TV personality.
Television personalities Vanessa Lachey and Olivia Culpo were backstage commentators, and the winner was determined by a panel of seven women.
During her closing speech, Tunzi won the cheers of a new segment of the competition, in which she talked about wanting to empower young women to feel confident.
“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 seen as beautiful,” she said.
“I think it’s time for that to stop today,” she said to her thunderous applause.
Tunzi has beaten more than 90 contestants from around the globe in the 68th Miss Universe in Atlanta’s Tyler Perry Studios.
The two favourites ahead of the competition, Miss Thailand Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin and Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados, were not in the final 10.
Catriona Gray from the Philippines, who presented the crown to Tunzi, took home the crown of the Miss Universe in 2018.
Although she didn’t make the finals, Miss Myanmar’s Swe Zin Htet made waves last week as the first openly gay contestant.