After fighting off competition from 90 contestants from across the globe, South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi won the title of Miss Universe 2019 on Sunday night, which was held at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray crowned the 26-year-old Tunzi, her successor, at the 68th annual event. Miss Mexico Sofía Aragón won the crown for the second-runner up, while Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson was given the title of the first runner-up. Apart from Mexico and Puerto Rico, Colombia and Thailand also made it to the top five.
The final winner of the pageant was announced after a series of rounds, including swimsuit, evening gown struts and questions on social issues.
In the last and final round, Tunzi was asked: "What is the most important thing you should be teaching young girls today?" In response, she replied: "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." She quickly added her winning stroke saying, "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."
Tunzi is quite an active worker in the fight against the gender based violence. In the Miss Universe introductory video, she has been described as a "person who has devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes. She is a proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are."
This year, the competition gave the contestants an opportunity to share a thought for the audience as well as the judges. Sofía Aragón, who represented Mexico, said: "If you do not use your beauty for your life's mission, it's just an empty ornament."
Miss Puerto Rico Madison Anderson, who insisted that being on the Miss Universe stage is not just a dream but mission for her, said: "It's a representation of dedication, resilience and perseverance. I do believe my mission is to show the world that magic happens when we refuse to give up because the universe always listens to a stubborn heart."
After Zozibini Tunzi was crowned the new Miss Universe, US TV show celebrity Oprah Winfrey congratulated her on Twitter:"Congratulations Miss South Africa, the new Miss Universe @zozitunzi! Agree with you...leadership is the most powerful thing we should be teaching young women today. We welcome your visit to #OWLAG, our Leadership Academy for Girls (sic)."