Zozibini Tunzi, the South African beauty pageant contestant that won this year’s crown for Miss Universe has dealt with colorism before she even took the crown. Just a few months before winning the pageant, she released a statement about the insensitive comments directed towards her.

Fresh-faced beauty Zozibini Tunzi

Tunzi wrote, “I just want to take a moment to dedicate a post to the unkind comments that I have been receiving about my blackness since my crowning. To comments that are aimed at all brown skinned girls at some point in our lives. Not because it hurts me or gets under my skin, but because I see an opportunity to educate and speak out on a serious issue.” 

“When people say hurtful, negative things about black women and black people in general I do not quickly take offense and here’s why. Society has previously been programmed in such a way that there’s nothing beautiful about being black,” she went on. “The furthest you are from being fair skinned the uglier you are. That unfortunately has been the universal standard of beauty and it is very difficult for some people to unlearn it.”

“I am going into Miss Universe with hopes to shatter whatever misconception and stereotypes people have of beauty. These comments are exactly why we should keep inserting ourselves in spaces where we have been told we do not belong and we will never make it.”

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“It is up to us re-write the narrative. To whoever else thinks that black is not beautiful I cannot wait for you to experience the depth and magic of a black woman. I am a daughter of the African soil and I am beautiful. See your face reflected in mine,” she concluded.

Miss Teen USA Kaliegh Garris; Miss America Nia Franklin; Miss USA Cheslie Kryst; and Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi
photo: DEREK WHITE/SHUTTERSTOCK; KRISTIN CALLAHAN/ACE PICTURES/SHUTTERSTOCK; TAYLOR HILL/GETTY; PARAS GRIFFIN/GETTY


Exuding intelligence, pride and knowledge, Miss Tunzi is here to change the narrative on beauty and brains too.