Black Woman Wins Miss Universe For First Time in 8 Years

For the first time since 2011, a black woman has won Miss Universe — and Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi has a powerful message about leadership for young girls.

Rare beauties making Miss Universe history

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Zozibini Tunzi, Miss South Africa, was crowned the 68th Miss Universe, the first contestant to embrace her kinky hair in this beauty pageant. Beyond her haircut, it was also through her speech on self-confidence and the future of young girls that this 26-year-old woman, a public relations graduate, left a lasting impression. Besides being a Miss, Zonzibini is also an activist for women's rights. After being elected Miss South Africa in 2018, she participated in the United Nations campaign "HeForShe" in her country. This global movement of which Emma Watson is the goodwill ambassador encourages men to fight alongside women for gender equality.

Miss Swe Zin Htet represents Myanmar. She came out to the press the day before the competition. The 21-year-old competitor came out in a late November interview with beauty blog Missosology. However, in Burma, homosexuality illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison or even the death penalty. She explained to People magazine that she came out to promote the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community in this Southeast Asian country. While Miss Myanmar is the first openly gay woman to participate in Miss Universe. The previous year, the contest welcomed its first trans woman in the history of Miss Universe: Angela Ponce who represented of Spain.

Ms. Ponce, who is from Pilas in southern Spain, is not only the first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe, she was also the first transgender woman to win her country’s Miss Spain title. Growing up in Spain, Ponce dreamed of competing in pageants, but she never imagined she would actually make it this far. The Latino Commission on AIDS honored Miss Spain in 2019 and was awarded with the 2019 Ilka Award at its annual Cielo Gala on June 7, 2019 at Cipriani Wall Street.