South Africa, Mexico and Puerto Rico Shine at Miss Universe 2019
Sunday's Miss Universe pageant was filled with emotion. The 2019 winner is South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi, a 26-year-old public relations professional and activist against gender-based violence. “I'm so ecstatic,” she said after being crowned. It was also a big night for Puerto Rico's Madison Anderson, who was the runner-up, and Mexico's Sofía Aragón, who came in third place.
“Society has been programmed for a very long time that never saw beauty in a way that was black girl magic, but now we are slowly moving to a time where women like myself can finally find a place in society, can finally know they're beautiful,” Tunzi said about the importance of diversity. “I believe that whatever we put into the universe always come back to us, and I think that if we all work together and do all that we can, truly we can make a change.”
According to her bio, she has “devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes” and is “a proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are.”
After her victory, she shared a sweet photo with her parents with the loving message, “I am because you are. You've given me life, you've raised me to be the woman I am so that I can stand in a faraway land proudly knowing where I'm rooted and where I come from. You've sacrificed so much and fought battles I don't even know about, everything so that we could have all the opportunities the universe has to offer. I am forever grateful and hope to make you proud, every single day of my life!”
Puerto Rico's Madison Anderson 23, came in second place after critics accused of her not speaking Spanish fluently and not being boricua enough. The stunning blonde, who represented the municipality of Toa Baja in the pageant, was born in Orlando, Florida, to a Puerto Rican mother. “I feel very proud of my process, of my work,” she said in an interview with WAPA TV. “It's a mission to be a voice and say that Puerto Rico is more than a language — it's its culture, its traditions and the love you have for Puerto Rico. It's very important for people to know that being boricua is something that runs in your blood.”
Anderson — who studied fashion design, marketing and public relations — expressed her interest in helping victims of domestic abuse and said she wants to help nonprofit organizations such as Hogar Ruth in Puerto Rico.
Mexico's Sofía Aragón, 25, also shined. According to her bio, the Mexican beauty is “a writer who committed her life to helping others who suffer from depression. She became a speaker when she realized that by sharing her story, she can help people overcome the same struggles she experienced. She is passionate about the importance of mental and emotional health, and will continue to fight for those who suffer from depression.”
“I'll always say it … NEVER underestimate a woman who doesn't know how to give up,” she wrote on Instagram after the pageant. “I am really happy and proud of what we achieved today. Mexico second runner-up at Miss Universe! With the exception of our two Miss Universes, this was not achieved since 1988. I am deeply grateful to all who were part of this dream.”