Miss Universe 2019 is from South Africa, Malaysia and Philippines in best costume mix-up
Host Steve Harvey had read out Miss Philippines as the winner of the best costume before being corrected by Miss Malaysia herself, Shweta Sekhon. But it later turned out, he read correctly.
Miss South Africa is the new Miss Universe 2019. Zozibini Tunzi inherited the crown from last year’s winner, Catriona Gray of the Philippines, at the end of the pageant that was held on Sunday evening in Atlanta, Georgia (Monday morning, Dec 9, Singapore time).
In her final speech before being declared winner, she said: "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 added: "I think that it is time 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 first runner-up is Madison Anderson Berrios of Puerto Rico, while the second runner-up is Sofia Aragon of Mexico.
Rounding up the top 10 were contestants from Colombia, France, Iceland, Indonesia, Peru, Thailand and the United States.
Host Steve Harvey was thought to have made another mistake during the announcement of the Best National Costume award, which is determined by online votes. He had famously flubbed the announcement of the overall winner at the 2015 pageant when he read out the wrong name.
For this year's Best National Costume, a photo of Miss Philippines, Gazini Ganados, had been shown and Harvey announced her as the winner. He said, “This is it right here” before introducing the contestant standing beside him, who was not Miss Philippines.
Twenty-two-year-old Miss Malaysia Shweta Sekhon corrected him, saying, “It’s not Philippines, it’s Malaysia.”
Harvey blamed the mix-up on the teleprompter. He said: "Let me explain something to you. I just read that in the teleprompter. Ya'll got to quit doing this to me."
As it turned out, he got it right. Organisers later took down its original tweet and tweeted that Harvey was correct. “Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados is the winner of the #MissUniverse2019 National Costume competition!”
Malaysia’s costume is named A Peranakan Indulgence and was designed by Malaysian couturier Carven Ong who, according to the Star, was inspired by the rich heritage of the Peranakan community and its bridal traditions.
The dress sported a pair of wings made out of kebaya fabric, and also had an array of Peranakan treats, such as onde-onde and kueh kaci, arranged around it. Ong’s creations were featured in the movie Crazy Rich Asians last year.
Editor’s Note: This story has been edited to reflect new information released by the organisers of Miss Universe. It was previously reported that Miss Malaysia won the National Costume competition. This was incorrect. The winner was actually Miss Philippines.