For the first time in the pageant world’s history, all four major titles — Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and now Miss Universe — are held by black women.
“It feels fantastic,” Tunzi, 26, told Good Morning America. “We come from such a racially divided world and so for us to be moving forward in unity together to say look, these are women that have rarely been celebrated in the past and finally people are starting to see the greatness that is within us — I’m so happy to be a part of this.”
The public relations specialist became the first black woman to be crowned Miss Universe since 2011, and joins fellow pageant holders Nia Franklin, the current Miss America; Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019; and Kaliegh Garris, Miss Teen USA.
Upon Tunzi’s victory, Garris celebrated the new title holder with a sweet congratulatory post on Instagram.
“New sister alert!!🇿🇦Congratulations to @zozitunzi I am so excited to get know you and grow through this year together❤️,” Miss Teen USA wrote on Instagram. “Congratulations to all the amazing women that competed tonight! You all did amazing and are truly inspirational 💜”
Even Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey jumped on social media to voice their praise for Tunzi. When Tunzi — who is also an activist against gender-based violence — heard that Winfrey had sent her a note, she nearly passed out.
“I fainted for a second there because I was like, ‘Is this Oprah-Oprah?’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, it’s the real one,’” she told GMA.
The talk show host, 65, lauded Tunzi for her answer about the importance of teaching young girls leadership.
The new Miss Universe told GMA, “It’s something that we should be taught as young girls and grow up to be women who really want to insert themselves in spaces of power and not feel shy about wanting to be powerful and a leader.”
In her answer during the pageant, Tunzi touched on the misconception of women being unfit for leadership. She similarly hopes that her new role as Miss Universe helps break down other stereotypes.
“Just by being on that stage and representing women who look like me… and not just women who look like me, but women who have felt that they’ve been misrepresented or haven’t seen a different kind of beauty,” Miss Universe told GMA, “[I’m] hoping to change that narrative and say look, women are multifaceted, we’re not all the same and we shouldn’t be boxed into one type of beauty.”