Wednesday, 1 April 2020

From Tsolo To The Universe

Hailed as the daughter of the African soil, Miss Universe Zozibini has redefined what beauty pageants mean, disrupted the beauty standards, and is known for being the woman who wants every little girl’s faces reflected in hers. 

And yet, when nervously I walk into her dressing room I extend my hand to introduce myself; Zozibini introduces herself to me as if I don't already know who she is. With minimum interview time given because she needs to get ready for her next look, we get straight into the conversation.

GLAMOUR: What does this win mean to you?

Zozibini Tunzi: Every time I hear people’s responses, I realize more and more every day that this win is much bigger than me. This win stood for a lot, it stood for change more especially in the beauty sphere. This win was never meant for someone who looks like me. Beauty has always had one-dimensional view and this managed to breakdown those barriers. 
From Tsolo To The Universe
From Tsolo To The Universe
This means that society will know not to box women into a certain stereotype especially when it comes to the real definition of beauty. Another thing this win has given validation to so many young girls who grew up not feeling beautiful because of the colour of their skin, the texture of their skin or even the shape of their bodies.

GLAMOUR: How did the response you received from social media after your win make you feel?

Zozibini Tunzi: We got this response because everything was real. This is how real people look. To finally switch on the television and see someone who looks like you and when you look at that screen you see their faces reflected in you and I realized it was not just about me. 

This was extremely huge for me because being a young girl from a village in the Eastern Cape, this seemed like something that is not attainable and felt validated. To get that love and feedback from the world was really astonishing.

GLAMOUR: In your final word at the Miss Universe pageant, you mentioned that young girls should take up space and cementing themselves in society. What does this mean for an everyday South African young girl?

Zozibini Tunzi: I want them to not be scared of their power. I meant that as women and young girls we tend to be scared of our potential because the world already dictates for you where man and woman go and I’m saying why should that be? We should teach young girls at a young age to recognize their power, to not be scared of being called names when they want to be leaders. 

What I’m saying to young girls and woman is that we need to be fabulous, be confidently beautiful without being apologetic about it. Never apologize for wanting to wear a boss outfit, putting on your boss makeup and having a boss attitude wherever you go.

GLAMOUR: All the Feels an Autumn/Winter campaign by Woolworths, what does it mean to you?

Zozibini Tunzi: When I think of All the feels, what comes to mind is a feeling of unity, a feeling of saying look how far we have come as a country. We have come from such a painful and complicated past and we were able to overthrow that system. All the feels for me mean that we have been strong, we have been resilient and let’s celebrate our uniqueness, what we have to offer and what we are capable of. This is celebrating ourselves as a country. 

GLAMOUR: How is living in New York?

Zozibini Tunzi: New York is amazing, I have been telling everyone that it's cold and I need to stop that (laughs). Besides the weather it is fantastic and a very busy city. When you there you can see people are busy chasing their dreams, minding their business and that is the vibe from the concrete jungle of dreams.
From Tsolo To The Universe
From Tsolo To The Universe
Photographs by Ulrich Knoblauch

Read the full article in the April digital edition here!

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