Cutting my hair wasn't a 'strategy' to win, says Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi

Beauty queen shares the story behind her signature fade and reveals how she keeps her natural crown looking fabulous

14 August 2019 - 15:22 By Tswelopele Maputla
Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi says it makes her feel good that women are copying her haircut.
Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi says it makes her feel good that women are copying her haircut.
Image: Miss SA

Zozibini Tunzi is not only the name of the winner of Miss South Africa 2019, but also a trending haircut.

Since the 25-year-old won the coveted Miss SA title last week, her natural crown has become a major talking point - and a source of inspiration for many women who are asking their hairstylists to copy Tunzi's signature fade.

On social media, the Eastern Cape beauty has received widespread praise - and some criticism - for the short cut. Some have even insinuated that her hair choice might have had something to do with her victory.

You see, it's not the first time Tunzi has vied for the crown. She originally entered the Miss SA pageant in 2017 and made it into the semifinals. Back then she sported a long weave, a far cry from this year's short, natural look. 

But Tunzi confirmed that cutting her hair "wasn't really a strategy for coming back to Miss South Africa".

She tells us more:

When you first entered Miss SA in 2017, you rocked a weave. The second time around, you have your signature fade. What inspired the big chop?

It wasn’t really a strategy for coming back to Miss South Africa. It’s a decision I made two years ago - and it was the best decision I ever made, because it felt so liberating.

Zozibini Tunzi as semi-finalist in the 2017 Miss SA pageant.
THEN Zozibini Tunzi as semi-finalist in the 2017 Miss SA pageant.
Image: Zozibini Tunzi - Miss South Africa 2017 Semi-Finalist/Facebook
Zozibini Tunzi during the grand finale of Miss South Africa 2019 at the Time Square Sun Arena in Pretoria, South Africa.
NOW Zozibini Tunzi during the grand finale of Miss South Africa 2019 at the Time Square Sun Arena in Pretoria, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images/Frennie Shivambu

Before I cut my hair, I was scared that I would not be beautiful, mainly because of societal standards of what beauty is. When I cut my hair, I realised how amazing it looked - more beautiful than I thought - and so coming into the competition I just remembered the moment when I cut my hair and I thought there is no reason for me to change it.

Who first gave you the big chop?

A guy called J at a barbershop in East London gave me the "big chop". My mom and three sisters were there. It might sound dramatic but I was like, "I’m going to cut my hair and I’d love for you guys to come," because it was an emotional thing. It was like a barber date!

Women have been copying your haircut and sharing pictures on social media. How does that make you feel?

Yes, I’ve seen! It makes me feel good because it means I’m doing something positive. One of the things I like to say is "as a Miss South Africa it’s important for people to sort of see a reflection of themselves in you". For them to post pictures of themselves, loving themselves the way they look 100% makes me feel like I’m on the right path to doing something good.

Tell us about your haircare routine

I like to do bantu knots just to define my curls, but there's not really a lot that goes into my hairstyle, which is one of the reasons I love it so much. I don't have to worry about a lot of maintenance; it's really just making sure you wash and condition your hair and keep it healthy.

Sometimes I use coconut oil because it's very good on the skin and on the hair as well. I also use conditioner and make sure I keep my hair moisturised, freshly clean and shaven.