Zozibini Tunzi wrapped up her first week of interviews as Miss Universe with an appearance on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show
The Eastern Cape beauty said it hasn’t sunk in yet that she is ‘queen of the universe’. She also opened up about some serious issues when she sat down with the South African comedian this week.
Zozibini revealed that that since winning Miss South Africa she has received online hate about her looks – particularly her dark skin and natural hair.
“I got a lot of comments where a lot of people said, “Is this the one this year? So underwhelming’. I got comments like, ‘She’s a downgrade from the others that we’ve had’. This is from people in my country,” she said.
The 26-year-old says the criticism “got more international” when people found out she was going to compete in Miss Universe.
“International people as well started commenting and I think my most interesting one was when I came to New York for the first time, I think four months ago. I came back to SA. It was late in the evening and I took a photo of my apartment and I was like, ‘such a beautiful night’ and a comment came in… this guy says, ‘oh this photo is so black, it’s as black as you are, Miss black, ugly South Africa’.”
Zozibini says she wasn’t mad because it was in that moment that she realised “it’s just how society has labelled beauty to be”
“The further you are from being fair, the uglier you are. And I just saw it as an educational moment because I remember putting up a post speaking about it. Speaking about colourism, speaking about racism, speaking about people need to see things in order to start believing in them.”
Zozibini says she has received “incredible” support from many South Africans since winning Miss Universe
“It was incredible, the support that I got back home, but it was challenging as well because I had a new look that people were not used to and I got crowned and got a lot of different responses, but I was quite excited regardless of what was happening.”
Trevor applauded her for wearing her natural hair during the Miss Universe pageant despite being urged to wear a wig or a weave by some, to increase her chances.
“This is my hair, I don’t think anyone tells other people to put on a weave so why should I? At first people were like, ‘Is this a strategy?’ To what? Wake up and be myself… I’ve had short hair for three years and I wasn’t going to change because I was now stepping into a beauty platform,” she told Trevor.
Zozibini also talked about her work with gender-based violence projects
“It’s not only a South African thing, it’s a global issue. It is a global issue… women are fighting all over the world to be safe.”
Listen to her full interview with Trevor below (20:17):
Zozibini has also appeared on Good Morning America, Live with Kelly and Ryan, CBS News, Sway In The Morning, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360° and many more top American shows, since being crowned.
Some South Africans slammed the media for constantly asking her about her natural hair, but many defended the approach take by interviewers as Zozi would inspire women who look like her.
Is Miss Universe going to have to spend her entire reign talking about her hair? Is every interview going to be “WhY diD yOU HaVe NATural HaIR foR tHe cOMPetiTion”
— Farah C. Fortune (@fcfortune) December 17, 2019
Most people were just happy to see South Africa’s golden girl shining on the global stage.
— Black Diamond ⚡⚡⚡🇿🇦✨✨✨ (@BlackBeautyf3) December 18, 2019
I love her authentic beauty. Really stunning. I imagine she is quite learned also.
— feduphoolie (@o_clast) December 18, 2019
You guys would make a crazy hot couple
— mindnut (@mindnut4) December 18, 2019