Our beauty pageants had forever been the face of one of the most glaring issues our society is blessed with- body shaming. For long, women across the world have hidden their true selves and have been ashamed of their natural looks. But a change in this archaic mentality is inevitable, a stark example of which is Zozibini Tunzi attain the coveted title of Miss Universe 2019 without compromising on her true authentic self. 

Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi recently became the first black Miss South Africa to win the title of Miss Universe 2019. But the win wasn’t without its share of prejudices aimed at the proud winner who has been immensely praised for her advocacy of natural beauty during the competition. In a chat with Insider,  the pageant queen shared how she was advised to not participate in the competition while sporting her natural hair and to wear a wig instead. 

"A lot of people did," she said. "And it was so strange because even a lot of people I knew, people that were my friends, were like, "Sis, we love you, but we're just saying, maybe you should put on a wig or buy a weave."

But Zozibini Tunzi was not ready to change herself for winning the title of Miss Universe 2019

She didn’t let the words of others influence her as they were telling her what "society has taught us and engraved in our minds for such a long time." 

"I was like, "No, you know what, I'm going to do it the way I am, because I've been with my natural hair for the past three years,"' she said. "I don't see why I should change it just because I'm stepping into another platform." 

"In the past, I think that beauty has been stereotyped to look one certain way," she continued. "When you open a magazine, that's what you see. When you open television, that's what you see. And it becomes embedded within society and ourselves." 

By presenting her true personality on the prestigious stage, she wants people to learn to embrace themselves as well. “You are who you are. And if that's your true authentic self, then don't be shy about it,” she said. 

As Miss Universe 2019, Tunzi will be spending the next year travelling the world and plans to stay true to her message.

"By remaining myself authentically and speaking my truth and believing in my truth all the time, I'm hoping that it's going to help someone stand for theirs as well," she said.