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South African mental health advocate crowned Miss Universe

Dec 09. 2019
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By The Nation

Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was named Miss Universe 2019 at the beauty pageant finale on Sunday at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, while Thailand’s Paweensuda Drouin finished among the top 5.

Her official portrait

Tunzi succeeds 2018 winner Catriona Gray of the Philippines. 

Asked during the finale what is the most important thing young girls should be taught today, the 26-year-old mental health advocate answered: 

“It is very important to teach young girls today the importance of their true value. We see so many perfections on social media – perfect lives, perfect bodies, perfect faces, perfect relationships. Nothing is that real. We have to teach them that they are already amazing, already worth it, because who they really are is not about their looks but what they feel, how they act and the way they react to the world. I believe a girl’s worth comes from what she offers to the world, which is way more than the way she looks.”

Tunzi oozed confidence during her closing statement at the pageant, saying: “I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my skin colour and my kind of hair, is not considered beautiful. That stops today. I want children to look at my face and see their own looking back at them.”

Tunzi is also an activist who fights against gender-based violence.

Madison Anderson of Puerto Rico was named first runner-up, while Sofía Aragón of Mexico finished in third place.

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