No Miss Universe Pageant for 2020!

That is what Miss Universe Puerto Rico National Director Denise Quinones has confirmed in an official statement on the MUPR website.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has made such disruption that the Miss Universe pageant is the second Alpha pageant to cancel their 2020 finals. Initial rumors circulated that the original pageant date eyed was on December 6th in the US but with the mounting cases of Covid-19 related deaths and infections in the US, this is probably for the best. It is rumored that Miami is to host the next MU edition sometime mid-2021. What is confirmed though is the cancellation of this year’s finals to next year.
This would make Zozibini Tunzi’s reign as one of the longest Miss Universe reigns alongside Leila Lopes, Gabriela Isler, Natalie Glebova and Pia Wurtzbach.

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GOT $50? THEN YOU CAN CHAT WITH THE MISS UNIVERSE QUEENS FOR A COUPLE OF MINUTES! Join three MUOrg queens for a pay-per-view chat! This is a fundraising effort of the Miss Universe organization for the WHO's Covid-19 fund! • • • • • • Mark your calendars!! 💥 Join Miss Universe @ZoziTunzi, Miss USA @Chesliekyrst and Miss Teen USA @kalieghgarris alongside Miss Universe Organization president @realpaulashugart for #universeunited Unfiltered! On Monday, May 18, these remarkable women will share a conversation about what participating in pageants has meant to them, behind-the-scenes secrets from their competitions, and the intangibles which set them apart to take the crown. Proceeds from this discussion benefit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. #Repost @missuniverse . . . . . #SashesAndScripts #UltimatePageantBlog #PageantBlog #PageantBlogger #MissUniverse #ZozibiniTunzi #MissUSA #chesliekryst #MissTeenUSA #kaleighgarris #MissUniverso #missuniversecolombia #missuniversephilippines #puteriindonesia #MissVenezuela #misssouthafrica

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Below is the statement from Denise:

¨Unfortunately, this situation has affected all areas and our contest is no exception. Our priority is to maintain the health and safety of all pre-candidates and our team. We have kept in touch with them to find out how they are and let them know that we will give them more information soon. So far, the Miss Universe organization has not offered an official statement about the international pageant or the selection process, however, they told us that the event will not be held this year and that they are evaluating dates probably for the first quarter of 2021. This will allow us to have more time for the selection and preparation of the candidate from Puerto Rico. As soon as we receive instructions from the Organization we will be able to evaluate the available options. We trust that, As we have done for the past years, the decision made will be positive for our representation. We appreciate all the interest, support and affection that our followers have expressed in this process. We will keep in touch to let you know the next details of Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2020¨.

Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi

How rare is it for a black African woman to win Miss Universe?
Well very rare. Let’s put it this way, out of 67 women who have won the Miss Universe title, only 3 black African women from the continent has been named MU.
The 6th black woman and the 3rd black African lady to ever win the Miss Universe title is Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa. And today we put the spotlight on her.

Zozibini is the third woman from South Africa to win the title, and the second black woman after Leila Lopes of Angola was crowned Miss Universe 2011. The 5’8 Zozi graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and image management in 2018. Her pageantry career began back in 2017, when she was named as one of the top 26 semifinalists of Miss South Africa 2017. She failed though to make it to the final 12 candidates to compete for the title on the coronation night.

"I think the most important thing we should be teaching young girls today is leadership. It's something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a very long time, not because we don't want to but because of what society has labelled women to be. I think we are the most powerful beings in the world and that we should be given every opportunity and that is what we should be teaching these young girls, to take up space, nothing is as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself."
- Zozibini Tunzi's final answer at Miss Universe 2019

Here’s clips from a Hollywood Life article on the things you should know about her:
1. She’s a passionate advocate and activist for women’s rights and equality. Zozibini’s campaign as Miss South Africa included partnering with HeForShe, a UN organization represented by celebrities like Emma Watson that encourages men to fight alongside women for gender equality. Zozibini asked that South African men to write messages of support to women, which would be printed on pieces of ribbon. Those notes made up her national costume at Miss Universe!
2. She’s close to her parents. On the day of Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini posted a loving message to her parents, Philiswa Nadapu and Lungisa Tunzi, on Instagram. She captioned a set of photos, which showed her parents hanging out with her backstage, “I am because you are. You’ve given me life, you’ve raised me to be the woman I am so that I can stand in a far away land proudly knowing where I’m rooted and where I come from. You’ve sacrificed so much and fought battles I don’t even know about, everything so that we could have all the opportunities the Universe has to offer. I am forever grateful and hope to make you proud, every single day of my life! Ndiyabulela, kwaye ndinithanda ngentliziyo yam yonke.❤️
3. She’s a public relations specialist. Zozibini graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and image management from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, in 2018. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Technology graduate degree in public relations, also at Cape Peninsula, shortly before winning Miss South Africa. She held an internship during grad school in the PR department of Ogilvy Cape Town.

Racism and Colorism Against Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi

Beauty pageants has an ugly side to it. And what more to expose this than the hard push that women of color, women of darker complexion are not supposed to win beauty pageants…

Thousands of Puerto Ricans glued themselves to their various screens last week to watch what is a national sport. But it wasn't baseball, the other national obsession; it was the Miss Universe pageant...

Most of them hoped to see Miss Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson Berríos (who doesn't use her last name in competition) capture a sixth crown for the island. Anderson's own crown, though, didn't come without controversy. The Puerto Rican public initially didn’t see her as Puerto Rican when she entered the pageant because she was not born on the island, doesn’t speak Spanish and looks "American" with her light skin and fair hair.

“To be Puerto Rican, it is carried in your blood and heart. I am proud to be the voice of Puerto Ricans from outside of Puerto Rico,” she said in an interview with a local paper after her local win, after which many Boricuas embraced her as their own.

Tunzi was crowned, Miss Puerto Rico became the first runner-up and many Puerto Ricans, angry their entrant had not won, expressed their disappointment via social media — and showed people's authentic souls, which were racist instead of beautiful.

“Nothing like a beauty contest to uncover the disgusting racism that is lived in Puerto Rico every day,” wrote Colectiva Feminista en Accion, a Puerto Rican feminist group active on the island.

Continue reading “Racism and Colorism Against Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi”

Miss Universe 2019 Review Pt.2

This is the second installment of the Miss Universe pageant review. And we will be tackling a number of topics in this post. There are several points in this blogpost that isn’t gonna sit well with pageant fans so we encourage them to be patient and open-minded…

THE  STAGE & PRODUCTION
This year’s production was just adequate, not at par as last year’s production but not terrible either. We just feel that they could have done more had they been able to find a bigger venue. The H stage was okay and the mirrors on the side of the stage made it look bigger. Stage-wise it was perfect. I particularly loved the trees on the back of the stage for the evening gown, that was what I loved most about the stage.

Continue reading “Miss Universe 2019 Review Pt.2”

The Standouts at the 2019 Miss Universe Prelims

They came, we saw, only some conquered!
Who stood out in this year’s Miss Universe preliminaries? Look no further as we break down this year’s standouts at the prelims!


Collectively this year I would say that they aren’t as strong as the 2018 Miss Universe batch. Last year we saw strong walks, strong camera presence and vibes and even fiercer performances at the preliminaries. This year, it seems only a few came to the competition that did their homework. Several girls (who we will not mention anymore) are just pure hype and failed deliver consistently in the pageant. Some ladies also seem to have neglected their physical fitness regimen and came in without properly toning their bodies to competition standards.

Continue reading “The Standouts at the 2019 Miss Universe Prelims”

Sashes&Scripts 3rd Leaderboard for Miss Universe 2019

It is time for the Miss Universe candidates to arrive and register for the competition which means it is time for us to list down our 3rd Miss Universe Leaderboard!
For this leaderboard we are listing the women who we think should be in the top 20 semifinalists of this year’s pageant should there be no continental grouping restrictions. Check out it your favorite is in the list!
The ladies in this top 20 list are based on the girls who created the most buzz on social media in the past several weeks. If your lady isn’t in the list, then it means that your bet needs to step up their game!

Continue reading “Sashes&Scripts 3rd Leaderboard for Miss Universe 2019”

Zozibini Tunzi: UN Advocate for Gender Equality

Miss Universe South Africa Zozibini Tunzi is lending her voice and her status as a beauty queen to further gender equality in her country.


In a post on the official Miss South Africa Instagram page, the reigning winner is asking the men of her country to help “make a difference” by supporting the #HeForShe campaign which aims to raise support for gender equality in her country. According to the heforshe.org website, the “HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for the advancement of women initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging men and boys as agents of change and take action against negative inequalities faced by women and girls.”

Here below is a snippet from an article from Channel 24 further explaining Zozibini’s role in the initiative:

Zozi is "aligning herself with the United Nations solidarity campaign #HeForShe for the advancement of gender equality."

As part of this campaign, and her ongoing work as an activist against gender-based violence, the beauty queen has asked South African men to pledge their support by writing love letters to the women of South Africa, which she will incorporate into her national costume.

"I am asking men to write love letters to the women of South Africa. Those letters will be inscribed on to ribbons of fabric which will, in turn, form part of my national costume. In what will be a first, I will literally take South Africa with me to Miss Universe; I will wear a wave of love from men in the form of love letters celebrating and honouring the women of this country," Zozibini explained in a press statement.

The PR graduate says she wants to shift perceptions around gender-based violence.

"Women are constantly being taught how to defend themselves against attack from men. I would like to shift the perception. I want to say that responsibility should no longer rest on the shoulders of women alone. I want the men of our nation to stand and take a stand against gender based violence [sic']."

Men who wish to add their voices to Zozibini's costume can start by pledging their support on the #HeForShe website. Following this, participants have been asked to share their "love letters" on social media either as a written message or through a video.

This call for solidarity and community involvement is such a great step for Zozi and the Miss SA org to take in. We are hoping for more similar camapaigns from MU candidates in the future…

SOURCES:
* https://www.channel24.co.za/The-Juice/News/Pageant/the-hidden-meaning-behind-zozibinis-miss-universe-national-costume-20191111

Sashes&Scripts’ 2019 Miss Universe 2nd Leaderboard

After the announcement of the Miss Universe host city, things took a major shake up for our leader-board.
While there is no news yet whether or not the continental groupings will be implemented this year, we are choosing the ladies based on who are possibly the best MU brand ambassadors for this year with the continental groupings in mind. Then if we are to factor in the host/ venue, the city of Atlanta in Georgia, for this leaderboard we might be seeing more women of color, more dark-skinned ladies making it into the semifinals this year. It won’t be a surprise as well if the top 5 would be dominated by women of color, something similar to MU 1988 when the top 5 comprised of 4 Asian women…

The Americas (in random order)
1. USA, Cheslie Kryst
2. Dominican Republic, Clauvid Daly
3. Colombia, Gabriela Tafur
4. Panama, Mehr Eliezer
5. Argentina, Mariana Varela

Europe (in random order)
1. Ireland, Fionnghuala O’Reilly
2. Iceland, Birta Abiba
3. Albania, Cindy Marina
4. Spain, Natalie Ortega
5. France, Maeva Coucke

Asia-Pacific & Africa (in random order)
1. Philippines, Gazini Ganados
2. Kenya, Stacy Michuki
3. South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi
4. Thailand, Paweensuda Drouin
5. Tanzania, Shubila Stanton

Wildcards (in random order)
1. Haiti, Gabriela Clesca
2. India, Vartika Singh
3. Japan, Ako Kamo
4. Chile, Geraldine Gonzalez
5. Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson Berrios


Based on this list we would further rank them as follows:
* Top 10 Semifinalists: Panama, Philippines, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Iceland
* Top 5 finalists: Thailand, Paweensuda Drouin and Albania, Cindy Marina
2nd Runner up – South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi
1st Runner up – USA, Cheslie Kryst
Miss Universe – Ireland, Fionnghuala O’Reilly

Sashes&Scripts’ 2019 Miss Universe 1st Leaderboard

The International pageant season has officially kicked off. And this is our first leader-board for the Miss Universe 2019 pageant!
Before we go on to the ranking of the ladies, let us first explain how we picked them. Just like in Miss Universe, we picked the strongest girls per continental grouping, that way only the deserving girls make the cut. Since there are very few interviews of the girls available online, the basis of the first leaderboard is facial beauty. Now, we looked into the photos of the ladies online but we selected each of the girls in per continental grouping based on their CANDID photos, not on their glamshots. Everyone can airbrush or beauty filter their photos on their Instagram feed so the best judge of facial beauty are videos and candid photos circulating over the net.

With that being said, here are our picks for each continental grouping!

Asia-Pacific & Africa (in random order) – the strongest facially in the group seems to be those that have high cheekbones, welcoming smiles and oozing of personality even in candids. It is a no-brainer that the MU powerhouses of the group are in this list.
1. Thailand, Paweensuda Drouin
2. Philippines, Gazini Ganados
3. India,  Vartika Singh
4. South Africa, Zozibini Tunzi
5. Sierra Leone, Marie Esther Bangura

Europe (in random order) – after a weak batch last year, this year has loads of strong contenders in the bunch. Perhaps the most facially striking in this batch are the European girls! And this year Europe isn’t holding their punches, they are going all-out!
1. France, Maeva Coucke
2. Albania, Cindy Marina
3. Ireland, Fionnghuala O’Reilly
4. Denmark, Katja Stokholm
5. Iceland, Birta Abiba

The Americas (in random order) – there isn’t a scarcity of gorgeous women from this region and they constantly bring their best in the MU pageant. Trimming down the ladies form this part of the world is always painful because they usually have the best bodies and pasarela.
1. Mexico, Sofia Aragon
2. Colombia, Gabriela Tafur
3. USA, Cheslie Kryst
4. Brazil, Julia Horta
5. Puerto Rico, Madison Anderson Berrios

Wildcards (in random order) – in no particular order, these women are the ones we thought would be making the semis if it weren’t for the pesky quotas of the continental grouping.
1. Dominican Republic, Clauvid Daly
2. Venezuela, Thalia Olvino
3. Vietnam, Hoang Thuy
4. Malta, Teresa Ruglio
5. Panama, Mehr Eliezer

Based on this list we would further cut them as follows:
Top 10 Semifinalists n (in random order): Albania, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Iceland, and Ireland.

5. Philippines, Gazini Ganados
4. Colombia,  Gabriela Tafur
2nd Runner up – India,  Vartika Singh
1st Runner up – France,  Maeva Coucke
Miss Universe – Thailand, Paweensuda Drouin

Zozibini Tunzi: a Strong Miss South Africa Winner

25 year old Zozibini Tunzi is Miss South Africa 2019 and she will be represeting South Africa in the Miss Universe pageant tentatively to be held in the Philippines in January of 2020.*

When the short-haired 5’8″ Zozibini was crowned Miss South Africa, not a lot of pageant fans were celebrating her win. Some fans were vocal on the Miss SA Instagram page about how other ladies are ‘stronger’ in terms of their chances in Miss Universe.  This, I beg to disagree as I see Zozi as one of the stronger girls in the Miss Universe pageant with her very modern look that defies the traditional pageant patty ladies. Her short cropped hair harkens to the likes of H’hennie, MU 2018 top 5 finisher and Kaci Fennell who was 4th runner up in MU 2014. There is something about short haired girls making a splash at Miss Universe in recent years.

Zozi returned to the Miss SA competition after completing a Bachelor of Technology graduate degree in public relations management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and worked as a graduate intern in the public relations department of Ogilvy. Her first foray in the pageant was in 2017 where she ended as one of the top 26 before being eliminated, then came back to win the crown two years later… proving that perseverance is key to winning.
This year has to be one of the most diverse Miss SA candidates in recent years. And despite Zozi not in my list of personal faves to win the title, I see the wisdom in her victory. I believe that Zozi is a great follow up to Tamaryn Green. Being so different from the past SA queens will make her stand out on her own and this will allow her to avoid comparisons to Tamaryn or to even Demi. She does not have to fit into a boxed mold of what a beauty queen should look like because there is beauty in diversity, in being unique, in being real and authentic. And Zozi was just that. Authentic…

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Ladies and gentlemen meet your new Miss South Africa! @zozitunzi Zozibini Tunzi was the last woman standing and will be representing her country in Miss Universe/ Miss World. I would like to say that I am very pleased that a woman of color has won the title this year. Zozi has great body proportions and a very gorgeous face, not to mention tht she speaks well too! If she is sent to Miss Universe, she will be an easy shoo-in for the continental groupings of 5,IMHO. And would easily glide it to top 5, where the creme de la creme is picked. ………………………………………………….. #Repost @official_misssa • • • • • • ‪#MissSA2019 was a glorious occasion. ‬ ‪ We welcome our new reigning queen @zozitunzi to this special sisterhood.‬ . . . . . #SashesandScripts #UltimatePageantBlog #PageantBlog #PageantBlogger #MissSouthAfrica #MissUniverseSA #MissWorldSA #zozitunzi #zozibinitunzi #MissWorld #MissUniverse #misssa #misssa2019

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Aside from that I see her being quite grounded as an advantage. In an article by IOL South Africa it mentions that she is also inspired by her parents, whom she refers to like her role models. “As cliché as this may sound my role models are my parents. I have learned so much from them. My mother has taught me the importance of remaining kind and humble and always being helpful to those around me. My father has taught me the importance of education, of hard work and discipline. Most important they have equally moulded me to be who I am today.” She comes from an academic family which is why she also loves education. Her mother is a school principal at Bangweni JSS, a school in a village called Bolotwa. The father works in Pretoria at the department of Higher Education and Training. “I stand for the education of the South African youth, for equality and representation, as a Miss South Africa, I cannot wait to make a contribution to these important social causes.”
With her social advocacy program centering to what is close to her on a personal level makes it more authentic and ‘real’. This is also why Zozi is a great conversationalist, judging by her answers to the Miss SA finals questions.

Admittedly there is still much polishing and training needed for her to be in her topmost fighting form. A stronger pasarela with focus on more refined movements would suit her better. A good physical regimen is needed as well so that she keeps her energies up come pageant proper, the discipline she gets to instill during her physical training will be helpful come MU season. And finally, working on a stronger stage presence would do wonders for her.
I am on-board with Zozi as the South African rep in MU. I believe she is a diamond in the rough and I hope that she would be able to  shine in Miss Universe.

SOURCES:
https://www.iol.co.za/lifestyle/style-beauty/beauty/6-things-you-need-to-know-about-miss-sa-zozibini-tunzi-30768257

* still up for confirmation