Beauty queen Zozibini Tunzi’s recent win as Miss Universe 2019 marked a historic first in the pageant world. When the 26-year-old accepted the prestigious crown this month it marked the first time a group of Black beauty queens simultaneously held so many titles in some of the world’s biggest pageants.
Here are a few of this year’s winners.
Clémence Botino — Miss France 2020
Clémence Botino reigned as Miss Guadeloupe before taking home the prestigious Miss France crown on Dec. 14. She is the third Guadeloupan to hold the title. According to French outlet RFI, the 22-year-old beauty queen is described an “intellect” and is currently studying art history at Sorbonne University in Paris.
“Beauty is intelligence,” she said. “It is about putting yourself forward and knowing who you are.”
Toni-Ann Singh — Miss World 2019
Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh was named Miss World 2019 on Dec. 14, the same day Botino was crowned Miss France. The 23-year-old, who was born in Morant, St. Thomas, Jamaica, is an alumna of Florida State University, where she studied psychology and women’s studies.
“To that little girl in St. Thomas, Jamaica, and all the girls around the world – please believe in yourself,” said Singh, who plans to attend medical school. “Please know that you are worthy and capable of achieving your dreams. This crown is not mine but yours. You have a PURPOSE.”
This is Jamaica’s fourth Miss World title.
Zozibini Tunzi — Miss Universe 2019
South African beauty queen Zozibini Tunzi earned the coveted title earlier this month, beating out 89 other contestants for the $5 million crown. The public relations professional has made her mark as an activist and leading voice in the fight against gender-based violence.
“She’s devoted her social media campaign to changing the narrative around gender stereotypes,” according to her contestant biography. “She is a proud advocate for natural beauty and encourages women to love themselves the way they are.”
Tunzi is the first Black woman to be crowned Miss Universe since the 2011 competition.
Nia Franklin — Miss America 2019
Pageant queen Nia Franklin of New York was crowned Miss America 2019 at the competition’s 92nd annual pageant in September 2018. According to her online bio, Franklin is a classically trained opera singer and composer who “uses her voice to transform lives through art.”
She explained it was her father’s life-changing diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma that led her to the Miss America organization, saying, “I had to find a way to pay for myself to go to school, so I entered [this] competition and this organization and it became much more than just the scholarship money; for me, it was also about the mentorship, leadership and sisterhood you find in this program.”
Cheslie Kryst — Miss USA 2019
Titleholder Cheslie Corrinne Kryst, 28, took home the crown as Miss USA 2019 this past May. She’s a full-time attorney who has license to practice in two states, her contestant bio states. She earned both her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University and earned her bachelor’s from the Honors College at the University of South Carolina.
Kryst is also a fashion blogger and a volunteer for Dress for Success.
Kaliegh Garris — Miss Teen USA
This April, Kaliegh Garris warned the title of Miss Teen USA, becoming the second rep from Connecticut to win the crown. The 19-year-old beauty, celebrated for her natural hair, hopes to encourage all women and girls to embrace their natural beauty.
According to her bio, Garris has previously studied theater and dance but will focus on earning a nursing degree at Southern Connecticut State University.