Zozibini Tunzi on the day she cut her hair: 'The moment my hair hit the floor, I realised how beautiful I was'

Zozibini Tunzi has become a global natural beauty icon since winning Miss South Africa and Miss Universe in 2019.

When she first entered the Miss South Africa pageant in 2017, she looked very different. With her long black weave, she faded into the background and only made it into the semi-finals. Two years later, she came back – more confident with her natural hair, cut short and demanded to be seen. She ultimately became Miss South Africa 2019.

“I believe that beauty means being comfortable with who you are,” she tells Drum.

“Beauty is subjective, so people’s opinions don’t really matter. Women are not one-dimensional, we come in different shapes and sizes, and we are all equally beautiful.”

Read more: Nappily ever after – how to find yourself after the big chop

When Zozi decided to cut her hair, she was at first (like many of us) fearful about how she would look.

“I cut my hair two years ago – I used to have a weave and braids. When I decided to cut my hair I was so fearful about not being beautiful until the moment my hair hit the floor. And when I looked in the mirror I realised how beautiful I was.”

Read more: Trust me, black women don't wear weaves because they aspire to be white

When asked what she loves about new hair, she said, “I’m now more comfortable with my natural short hair because of the way it highlights all my features, it doesn’t hide my face and I like that.”

On whether she will ever change her hair again, Zozi said, “If fear wasn’t a factor, I’d probably have red hair – a red weave. I’ve been thinking about it ever since Rihanna showed off hers a few years ago, but for now I don’t think I’m brave enough.”