Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi: Why This Strong Black Woman Is Sure to Make an Impact on Young Girls by Dawn Taylor
I happened on the Miss Universe pageant right as they were introducing the top 20. Miss South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi, was the first one to be named, and I was immediately struck by the way she carried herself. Tall and regal looking, with an air of confidence, it was somehow clear to me she was a strong woman – the kind who would be a role model to young women. I told my daughters she was my pick to win before she even spoke a word.
When she did finally speak, her passion for education being accessible for young girls everywhere and her own struggle to go to school as a black woman in a poor family in South Africa confirmed my intuition about her strength of character. As the pageant went on she also talked about the importance of women being encouraged to be leaders in the world, and this cemented my belief that she could be the best possible contestant to wear the crown and stand up for young women, not only of color, but young girls and women raised in poverty and disadvantage.
Apparently I was not the only one who was drawn in by this amazing woman. Twitter was ablaze with adulation, not only for Zozibini Tunzi becoming Miss Universe, but in discussing the fact that in 2019 black women have cleaned up in the pageant world.
With Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi being crowned #MissUniverse2019 , history was made for the first time EVER!! all 4 major Pageant crown went to black Women!!!! That’s so DOPE!!!!
Nia Franklin, Miss America 2019; Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA; and Kaliegh Garris, Miss Teen USA pic.twitter.com/3aCYZMgsJC
— DJKae10 (@DJkae10) December 9, 2019
Miss South Africa was obviously beautiful and committed to her platform of raising young women up to be strong and have limitless opportunity in the world. However, as a white woman, it didn’t occur to me the significance of her representing women of color.
After winning the crown, she posted this on her Twitter page:
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 and may they see their faces reflected in mine.
I am #MissUniverse2019. pic.twitter.com/gMkjmVCabo
— Zozibini Tunzi (@zozitunzi) December 9, 2019
Having so much representation is important and seeing the response on Twitter, it is clear that many people saw themselves in Zozibini Tunzi and the other pageant winners this year.
Miss USA looks like me!
Miss Teen USA looks like me!!
Miss America LOOKS LIKE ME!!!!
MISS UNIVERSE LOOKS LIKE ME!!!!!
I am so proud of my Queens!!! 🙌🏾🖤 https://t.co/Z8zkd6PWHp
— Queen_BrownBeauty_♑️ (@MuFasaBrown) December 9, 2019
Miss South Africa certainly had an impact on me during the pageant with her commitment and passion to her platform, but the impact she will have on young black women is likely immeasurable.
Photo: Glamour (Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa, Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris, Miss USA Cheslie Kryst and Miss America Nia Franklin)
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