South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi is Miss Universe 2019

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe 2019 on Monday, December 9 (December 8, Sunday in the US), in Atlanta, Georgia.

Zozibini succeeded Catriona Gray of the Philippines. (HIGHLIGHTS: Miss Universe 2019 coronation)

Puerto Rico's Madison Anderson was 1st runner-up while Mexico's Sofía Aragón was 2nd runner-up.

Zozibini is the 3rd South African to win the title. The first was Margaret Gardiner in 1978 and Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in 2017. 

The 26-year-old was born in Tsolo, Eastern Cape and raised in the village of Sidwadweni. She earned a degree in public relations and image management in 2018.

Her first entry into pageantry was in 2017 – she was among the 26 semifinalists of Miss South Africa in 2017. 

She again competed in the 2019 pageant and won. Her victory sparked conversation about beauty and colorism in South Africa. "I guess they've been programmed to not see that black as being beautiful and so the blacker you are, the farther away you are from beauty," said Zozibini in an August 2019 interview with SABC.

“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. And I think that it is time that it stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face and I want to see their faces reflected in mine," she later said during her closing statement at the pageant finals. 

Check out her answers during the Q&A, final word, and closing statement here: 

Zozibini will be based in New York during her reign as Miss Universe. – Rappler.com