Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi chats with Asian beauties, slams Asian hate

Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi chats with Asian beauties, slams Asian hate

MANILA, Philippines — Zozibini Tunzi opened up about "so much cyberbullying" during her reign as Miss Universe 2019.

During a recent virtual press conference organized by Lazada Philippines, Tunzi asked pageant fans to continue sending positive thoughts because the candidates are receiving many negative messages, too.

“Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean it’s not real," she said of one of her biggest lessons during the pandemic. She condemned discrimination at all levels, including Asian hate crimes.

“What that means is that just because something’s not happening to you doesn’t mean you’re not gonna lend a voice to it… Just because you’re not of Asian descent, just because you’re not a black person, just because you’re not part of the LGBTQ+ community, doesn’t mean you keep quiet and stand on the sidelines while those people are fighting. So for me, that’s what I learned this year, if we’re gonna start fighting injustices, our voices matter if we unite because they are louder. They just reach so much more spaces. And that’s my biggest (pandemic) lesson.”

According to her, she wants to be remembered as an agent of positive change, as someone who inspires social change.

"I just don’t want to be a number or a statistic," stressed Tunzi, who has also been vocal about gender-based violence.

“So happy to lend my voice to gender inequality, gender-based violence as well," announced the South African beauty queen, who has been working with United Nations and African unions for the cause.

“As COVID numbers increase, we’re forced to stay home and so many women and children were forced to be with their abusers. It was just a horrible time and I was able to raise not only awareness, to raise funds with organizations as well. There was a lot of things that happened this year that was horrible, but also, a lot of good came from it.”

After her reign, she said she plans to work in the TV industry and to continue her work as human rights advocate.

Recently, the reigning queen took to her Instagram account to chat with three Miss Universe 2020 candidates from Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

"For my daily schedule now, I wake up at 7 am and do my fitness/exercise routine, do my hair and makeup myself, then to pasarela practice, and finally to virtual Q and A sessions. I am excited not just to compete but to also celebrate who we are as women, and celebrate diversity," shared Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo.

Miss Universe Malaysia 2020 Francisca Luhong James, who was still in Kuala Lumpur during the virtual dialogue, said that "she is excited to meet all the girls and the Miss Universe team. It's been a long time going through preparations with the challenge of the pandemic, and overcome all the obstacles.

"I stay fit, do Q and A sessions in preparation for the international stage. To be mentally and physically ready. I also do some classes. I do community work, working with different people. I challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone. Need to have faith, trust the process and the people I am with," she added.

Miss Universe Indonesia 2020 RR Ayu Maulida, who is currently in Houston, Texas, said that she is getting ready for her makeup. "I can't wait for the moment when I am finally on stage. It is a dream come true for me, dreaming of this moment since I was a little girl. I am excited about the fashion segments because that is how I have worked my whole life, my profession. I am doing fasting now because my stamina needs to be ready. It's our Ramadan month."

Of the 74 official candidates enlisted for the 69th Miss Universe competition, four are replacements. Miss Universe Belgium 2020 Celine van Duytsel was replaced by her 2nd runner-up Dhenia Covens. Ditto Miss Universe South Africa 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida who was replaced by her 2nd runner-up Natasha Joubert. Musida will, instead, be sent to the Miss World 2021 competition.

Miss Universe Poland 2020 Magdalena Kasiborska was replaced by first runner-up Natalia Pigula, while Miss Universe France 2020 Clemence Botino switched places with runner-up Amandine Petit. Botino's schedule did not allow her to be prepared for the May pageant, so she opted to compete in the December finals.

There was no national pageants in Germany last year so they withdraw participation for the May 16 finals. But most countries – like Canada, USA, Venezuela, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Costa Rica, and the Philippines were fortunate enough to select their representative, albeit virtually, for some.

Other countries resorted to appointing their delegate. These include Argentina, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Panama, Portugal, South Korea, Ukraine and Puerto Rico.

In her closing statement, Zozi encouraged all the girls to have fun and make friendships and bonds along the way. "Enjoy yourself! You all worked hard winning your national crowns so you have done half the job. Imagine yourself as rare breeds of travel horses whose eyes are hooded so they are not distracted. Focus on yourselves!

"After my reign, I'll continue advocating for causes like Asian Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter. Stop the hate!" implored the South African beauty.

"Success is best shared to other people. So always be a blessing," Mateo added during the Lazada Philippines virtual con.

"Always channel what you can offer to your community to create sparks in the heart of people. You don’t have to be Miss Philippines… Every day is an opportunity for you to touch lives, grow, develop and choose to be kind… We need more love and kindness in this world, especially at this moment.”

Via the Lazada App, fans can still vote for their favorite contestants to enter the Top 16. To vote for your favorite Miss Universe Philippines 2020 contestant, access this link to the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 voting page.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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