This article was previously published in the DRUM print edition.
For weeks the phrase ran in a loop in her mind: what now? Holed up in her Manhattan apartment, Zozibini Tunzi was flooded with sadness and feelings of impending doom. It was early March in New York and the “city that never sleeps” was shrouded in a silent blanket of snow. The once teeming streets were eerily empty, resembling something from a post-apocalyptic movie as New Yorkers hunkered down in their homes. Zozi had been crowned Miss Universe just three months before and the world was supposed to be her oyster.
But in the blink of an eye, all the dreams that had come true hung in the balance, in danger of being destroyed by a virus that had all but brought the globe to a halt. “I didn’t immediately realise what the full impact would be on my reign,” the 26-year-old beauty tells DRUM via video call from the Big Apple. “But then suddenly, like a shot of iced water in the face, it hit me: all my plans for the year had been scrapped.”