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HOLLYWOOD, FLORIDA - MAY 16: Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi appears onstage at the Miss Universe 2021 Pageant at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on May 16, 2021 in Hollywood, Florida.

South Africa's Zozi Tunzi Takes Her Final Bow

Clad in an exquisite Xhosa gown and headwrap, Zozibini Tunzi handed over her Miss Universe crown as her unforgettable reign comes to an end.

South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi, the former Miss Universe, handed over her crown to Miss Mexico, Andrea Meza, last night at the 69th annual Miss Universe pageant. Having won the title back in 2019, Tunzi became the longest reigning queen in the pageant's history. And while the night was certainly Meza's, Tunzi undeniably stole the show in an exquisite Xhosa gown, choosing to wear a headwrap instead of her crown, as she made her final and graceful walk, bidding her fans farewell.


READ: Zozibini Tunzi, Elsa Majimbo, Bonang Matheba and More Nominated for Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards

Designed by Biji La Maison, the beloved couture fashion house that is popular with celebrities including Bonang Matheba and Ayanda Thabete, Tunzi's exquisite Xhosa gown was a black-and-white beaded extravaganza with the headwrap to match. admittedly, she looked as breathtaking as she did when she first won the crown.

In an emotional speech that spoke to her fervent desire to see change as a result of her reign, Tunzi said:

"From the moment I won, I knew my reign would be different, but I never imagined it would be during a global pandemic. My Miss Universe win is my ancestors' wildest dream. We are now in a world where a Black African girl from a country that is only 27 years into democracy can represent them on the global stage. I want to honour them for fighting for my freedoms so I could be where I am today. I'm proud to know I did my best to make a difference, cementing a footprint for others to follow in the future."

While Tunzi was the first Miss Universe to have to navigate her reign during the COVID-19 pandemic, she used social media and the power of the virtual world to reach even more people. She advocated for increased mental health awareness and under the online banner of #UniverseUnited, Tunzi spoke about many the issues she felt passionate about and wanted to spotlight.

There's an ongoing conversation about whether beauty pageants in general should even exist. However, Tunzi, who flew the flag high when it came to dispelling Eurocentric standards of beauty, unashamedly displayed her cultural pride and spoke about the power of educating young women and placing them in positions of leadership, changed the perception of beauty queens for the better. She has undoubtedly set a high standard for those who will come after and her own reign will forever remain unforgettable.

Here are some reactions from social media about Tunzi's final bow.

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It's Official: British Vogue Has Made 2022 The Year of the African Model

The major fashion magazine's February 2022 issue features 9 gloriously Black and African models - and we can't get enough.

Sigh... The Black Woman.

Legendary fashion and lifestyle magazine British Vogue has set the tone and welcomed in a new era with their latest cover, celebrating Black women in all of their glory. In what is arguably their most diverse, Afro-centric issue to date, the February 2022 issue of the popular magazine features 9 glorious (and Black) African models. Their latest issue, which celebrates "The Rise of The African Model", features South Sudanese models Adut Akech, Akon Changkou, and Anok Yai, Ethiopian beauty Akway Amar, Senegalese-Italian Dibaa Maty, Nigeria's Jumbo Janet, Nyaguaa from Sierre Leone, Australian Abény Nhial, and American model Majesty Amare.

Photographer Rafael Pavarotti captured the group's beauty, and British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful's vision beautifully. On the cover, Enninful says, "I saw all these incredible models from across Africa who were just so vivacious and smart. These girls are redefining what it is to be a fashion model. He went on to speak about the soon-to-be-historic cover on his Instagram, writing, "No longer just one or two dark-skinned girls mingled backstage, but a host of top models took a meaningful, substantial and equal place among the most successful women working in fashion today. It means so much to me to see it."

Echoing Edward's words and highlighting the importance of having diverse models on both sides - the model and the viewer - model Adut told the fashion magazine, "When I first started modeling internationally... I would literally be the only Black, dark-skinned girl in the show. There were no Sudanese models, no African models," the 22-year-old model said, "Now, I go to a show and there are girls from my country, girls from Africa who look like me. So yes, there has been a huge change. It has gone from me being the only one at a show, to 15 or 20 of us. I'm just so happy that we are finally at this place. I was tired of always feeling out of place, and feeling like an outcast."



Social media lost it when the cover dropped, many sharing the emotional impact seeing so many Black models on an international cover has over them.



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