Woman Crush Wednesday (WCW): Zozibini Tunzi

by Duke Magazine

Zozibini Tunzi is a South African model. She is a beauty pageant who was crowned Miss Universe 2019, which is a sequel win to her Miss South Africa 2019 title. This feat made her the third South African to win the global beauty pageant.

Born in 1993, Tunzi had a meteoric rise in pageantry when she started her career in 2017 and emerged Miss Universe two years later. She is the first Black woman to win the Miss Universe title since Leila Lopes was crowned Miss Universe in 2011, and the first to rise through the summit with afro-textured hair.

Tunzi holds the record of the longest-reigning Miss Universe titleholder of 525 days, toppling Lopes’ reign of 464 days.
Before becoming Miss Universe, Tunzi worked for a global advertising agency with a big heart for music and the arts. She begins in pageantry after noting the women before her using the opportunity to become leaders in their communities and use the impact for the greater good.

She watched former titleholders utilize their huge following to influence, spark change or continue conversations as young community leaders. Tunzi looked forward to winning the crown and the opportunity to use her title as a microphone and to be a catalyst for positive change. She managed to achieve some of her wishes, and she spoke frequently about women empowerment, diversity, and inclusion in the beauty industry, media, and other industries during her reign as Miss Universe.

In her capacity as Miss Universe, Tunzi has been spending a big part of her year speaking out against gender-based violence and pushing forward gender equality, not only on social media but on multiple panels across the world. She spent her year advocating for organizations including UN Women #HeForSheCampagin, Latino Commission on Aids, and Smile Train International to name a few.

The 28-year-old beauty queen holds a Bachelor of Technology graduate degree in public relations management at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She was most recently has named on the list of 2021 100 Most Influential Africans by Avance Media.

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