South Africa’s newly crowned Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi’s conviction, grace and enchanting beauty is one of a kind ... and the universe is in agreement too.
The South African beauty was the face that launched a thousand ships at the Miss Universe pageant held at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, yesterday. Tunzi took over the title from Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
She is the third South African to win the Miss Universe crown. The first was Margaret Gardiner in 1978, followed by Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters in 2017.
She is also the first Miss Universe to wear the brand-new "Power of Unity" crown which is said to be worth R73 million.
The 26-year-old came with glitter and gowns blazing to scoop up one of the most coveted beauty titles.
Here are some of the looks she served up on the night and what we thought of them:
Wave of Love
Tunzi’s national costume was part of her advocacy work for the United Nations solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality called HeforShe. The Lloyd Kandlin creation was inspired by her activism and endearing spirit, with every ribbon carved with love letters from South Africans who pledged their love and support for women in the fight against gender-based violence. Tunzi carried this piece of South Africa with her to the pageant.
The creative process behind the costume was just as spiritual as it was sincere.
“People came into studio writing their messages of love and support on pieces of fabric. We then attached those torn strips to the garment so that there is an organic, sculptured feel to the outfit,” said Kandlin.
“I had a Reiki woman come in to bless the costume and she said she could feel that there was so much love that had gone into the creation of it. It’s become a symbol, a message of hope, rather than a costume,” Kandlin added.
The Wave of Love was paired with a white catsuit, adorned with a black and gold stripe as well as a crown, which Kandlin explained was a symbol of the sun that brings life.
The wave was also a literal interpretation of a concept that would have been transformed into a more fashion-forward garment but instead, it came across as too arts-and-craftsy.
Biji La Maison de Couture
Finding the perfect gown to complement a crown said to be worth R73 million seemed like an impossible feat but this creation by Birgit Gibbs rose to the occasion.
“I have created something very special for Zozi. She has a unique look so I’ve designed a very special, one of its kind gown for her. I think everyone will be very happy with the look as she takes to the stage at the finale,” said the designer in a previous interview.
Gibbs went on to explain that the gold and blue detail was inspired by African soil and the coastline of the Eastern Cape sunrise.
The gold and blue detail on the dress made Tunzi’s beauty radiate more than ever, staying true to Gibbs’ assertions of creating a unique look. My only gripe with the outfit was the lining underneath. The brown hue was distracting and took away from the glitz and glamour of the dress.
Biji La Maison de Couture
Tunzi proudly represented her Xhosa heritage, paying homage to the women who came before her, on stage and looked absolutely stunning while doing it. The cape featured black and white traditional Xhosa print that did justice to the beauty, and fit her like a glove.
Tunzi rocked each and every look she wore embodying her prowess and innate beauty. The bright orange cape complemented Tunzi’s skin tone bringing an illuminating glow to the African beauty. However, the swimsuit’s print detail was a bit juvenile for my liking and the hoop earrings paired with it felt out of place.
Pale blue crystal dress
This pale blue number was an understated garment that allowed Tunzi’s beauty to shine through. Her earrings also complemented the crystal detail on the dress.
However, the tiny slit on the side of the dress was an unnecessary addition to an already adorned garment and was a poor attempt at adding a modern edge to a vintage dress.