Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss Universe Sunday night in a competition that for the first time saw five Indian-origin participating to represent five different nations.
The two runners-up for the crown were Miss Mexico and Miss Puerto Rico.
“I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me — with my kind of skin and my kind of hair — was never considered to be beautiful,” she said in her last response. “I think it is time that that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face and I want them to see their faces reflected in mine,” the winner said.
Apart from Miss India Vartika Singh who hails from Uttar Pradesh, four other contestants have Indian roots. Priya Serrao, the first Indian-Australian to be crowned Miss Universe Australia, was born to Indian parents in Secunderabad in the southern state of Hyderabad, but spent most of her childhood in Oman and Dubai before moving to Melbourne with her family at the age of 11. The 27-year-old works works as a policy advisor for the Victorian government and has tertiary degrees in Politics, International Studies, and Law.
Shweta Sekhon, a freelance fashion model of Punjabi descent took part as Miss Malaysia in the beauty contest. According to the official Miss Universe website, Ms Sekhon best describes herself as a ‘sporty person’ who was the captain of her school hockey team.
Miss Singapore is Mohanaprabha Selvam, who belongs to the ethnic Indian minority in the country. She recently acquired a degree in Biomedical Science and aspires to work towards promoting sustainable food and businesses to improve lives.
First-generation immigrant, Mehr Eliezer who was born in New Delhi, but was raised in the Philippines and Panama was representing Panama at the acclaimed competition. She is also the first nationalised Panamanian to ever participate and win the Miss Universe Panama pageant.