While Miss Philippines Gazini Ganados did not win today, December 9, 2019, as the new Miss Universe, the winner has captured our hearts for this beautiful message to young girls (and their parents) watching the pageant: You are powerful, and no matter how you look, or whatever color your skin may be, you are beautiful.
From the moment the pageant began, Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi already stood out with her short, curly hair and ebony skin. And she had a clear mission: Address racism and colorism or discrimination based on a person's color.
After she was named one of the Top 3, Zozibini said in her closing statement:
“I grew up in a world where women who look 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 that stops today.”
She adds, “I want children to look at me and see my face, and I want them to see their faces reflected on mine.”
Zozibini's statement showed that the real meaning of beauty has nothing to do with one’s skin color.
“I think we are the most powerful beings [in] the world, and that we should be given every opportunity.”
It is a message that will resonate around the world, including young Pinays who are often put down because of their morena skin.
The 26-year-old South African beauty had one of the most eloquent answers in the final round. All three women in the Top 3 — South Africa, Puerto Rico, and Mexico — were asked the same question: “What is the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today?”
Zozibini, without missing a beat, stressed the importance of teaching young girls leadership and finding the courage to take up space in society.
She says, “I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time, not because we don’t want to but because of what society has labeled women to be. I think we are the most powerful beings [in] the world, and that we should be given every opportunity and that is what we should be teaching these young girls—to take up space. Nothing is [more] important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself. Thank you.”
Miss South Africa succeeds Miss Universe 2018 winner, Catriona Gray. Madison Anderson Berrios of Puerto Rico was proclaimed first runner-up, while Mexico’s Sofia Aragon finished second place.
Relive Catriona Gray's Miss Universe 2018 journey and advocacy by clicking here.