Zozi Tunzi's best and worst fashion moments as Miss Universe

As everyone's fave beauty queen prepares to crown her successor, we look back at some of her most memorable outfits

14 May 2021 - 06:00 By Paula Andropoulos
Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi in Christian Cowan at the 2021 Latin American Music Awards on on April 15 2021 in Sunrise, Florida.
Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi in Christian Cowan at the 2021 Latin American Music Awards on on April 15 2021 in Sunrise, Florida.
Image: Sergi Alexander/Getty Images

Officially the longest-reigning Miss Universe to date, SA's Zozibini Tunzi has won the hearts of, well, the universe, representing her home country with astonishing beauty, intelligence, wit, charisma and compassion.

As Tunzi will be crowning her successor at this year's Miss Universe pageant on Sunday, we thought we'd look back on her iconic tenure and highlight fashion moments that stood out for all the right — and wrong — reasons: 



Tunzi looked like a goddess in this opulent opalescent Christian Cowan gown at the Latin American Music Awards earlier this year.

This look is characteristic of her ability to balance timeless grace and her unique vantage point as a spirited, playful 21st-century woman.

She has set a wonderful precedent for her successor in so many respects, including in her approach to fashion. 


This multi-hued ensemble is a testament to our queen’s versatility and sense of playfulness, and there is something utterly charming about how bundled up and glamorous she looks in this wintry outfit.

On paper, this combination of garments shouldn’t necessarily work, but the calf-length coat pulls together the colour scheme while making it clear that Tunzi is not afraid of standing out in a crowd.


There’s something really special about seeing Tunzi — pictured here in conversation with fellow South African Trevor Noah on The Daily Show — dressed in full pageant regalia, from her crown to her shimmering silver Jay Godfrey gown. She is the picture of contemporary elegance and poise, radiating her trademark joy and confidence. We’re not crying, you’re crying.



This fuchsia poncho-cape drape is too eccentric in its cut and length, and this Vince Camuto clutch looks somewhat like a lampshade. The colour combinations at play here are lush and beautiful, but altogether it does look a bit like Tunzi repurposed household furnishings to pull this outfit together.


There’s nothing wrong with this simple, cinched pinstripe dress, but compared to some of Miss Universe’s more exciting fashion choices, it’s a little drab and somewhat matronly — especially paired with those shoes.


We’re all for patriotism, but the flag-inspired outfit Tunzi wore as her national costume while competing in the 2019 Miss Universe pageant looked like it was eating her alive. (The fashion police on social media weren't fans of this look either.)

We applaud the sentiment behind the design of this "Wave of Love" dress; the sculptural skirt is made up of ribbons on which men had written love letters to the women of Mzansi as part of a campaign against gender-based violence. But still this is a lot.

There's just too much going and the overall effect is one of confusion rather than cohesion.

Natasha Joubert is representing Mzansi in this year's Miss Universe pageant. The finale will take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, on May 16 (2am to 5am on May 17, SA time). ​It'll be broadcast on 1 Magic (DStv channel 103). Tunzi will be on hand to crown her successor.