South African beauty queen Zozibini Tunzi is the new Miss Universe. Tunzi was crowned the 2019 Miss Universe during an event held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on Sunday night.
26-year-old Tunzi, who is also Miss South Africa, won the crown after impressing the judges and fans through the different rounds in the contest, ahead of runner-ups Miss Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson, and Miss Mexico, Sofía Aragón.
Tunzi was applauded during her closing speech 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 considered to be beautiful. I think that it is time that that stops today," she said.
She trumped over 90 other contestants from around the globe in the 68th edition of Miss Universe, which was held in Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
Miss Thailand Paweensuda Saetan-Drouin and Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados, who were considered favorites ahead of the contest, did not make it to the final 10. Miss Myanmar Swe Zin Htet made waves last week when she announced she is a lesbian, becoming the competition's first openly gay contestant.
"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," Htet told People magazine. Homosexuality is illegal in Myanmar and is punishable by up to life in prison.