This past year, all five winners of 2019’s major pageants crowned women of color for the first time in history!
Miss Jamaica Toni-Ann Singh was crowned Miss World, Miss Universe 2019 is Zozibini Tunzi, Miss America is Nia Franklin, Miss USA is Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Teen USA is Kaliegh Garris.
Here is a little information on each history-making woman.
23-year-old, Toni-Ann Singh was crowned Miss World at the 69th annual Miss World pageant. Singh is a psychology and women’s studies graduate from Florida State University. She was born in St. Thomas, Jamaica and immigrated to the U.S. when she was nine-years-old. She became the fourth woman from Jamaica to be crowned Miss World. Here’s a clip of her performing Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” at the Miss World competition.
South African model and queen, Zozibini Tunzi was previously Miss South Africa 2019 and is the third woman from South Africa to win Miss Universe. Tunzi was born in Tsolo, Eastern Cape and is one of four sisters. She attended Cape Peninsula University of Technology and graduated in 2018. Back in 2017, Tunzi began her pageant career when she was selected as one of the top 26 semifinalists of Miss South Africa 2017. She returned to the pageant in 2019 and won the title of Miss South Africa. Afterwards, she went on to compete for the Miss Universe pageant in Atlanta, Georgia where she became the third Miss South Africa to win this title and the first black woman to hold the crown.
Nia Franklin was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Franklin earned her undergraduate degree from East Carolina University and her master’s in fine arts at The University of North Carolina’s School of Arts. Shortly after obtaining her masters, Franklin was awarded a Kenan Fellowship at New York’s Lincoln Center Education and moved to New York City. At 23-years-old, Nia was crowned Miss Five Boroughs and went on to win the Miss New York 2018 pageant. On September 9th, 2018, Nia became Miss America! She is a teacher, music mentor, and songwriter. Nia has big plans on what she plans to do while she is Miss Universe, take a look at her interview on Good Morning America shortly after being crowned.
Full-time attorney, Cheslie Kryst earned her law degree and MBA from Wake Forest University and graduate dcum laude with a Bachelor’s degree from the Honors College of the University of South Carolina. Since 2019, she served as a correspondent for Extra. Kryst grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina and began her pageantry career when she won Miss Freshman at her high schoolpageant. After moving to Fort Mill, South Carolina, Kryst was crowned Miss Fort Mill High School. Following, she took a break from pageants and then made two attempts at winning Miss North Carolina, both times, she placed in the top 10. In 2019, Kryst was crowned Miss North Carolina representing Metrolina. At the Miss USA pageant, Cheslie became the third woman from North Carolina to win the title of Miss USA.
Miss Teen USA, Kaliegh Garris was crowned in April 2019 and became the second representative from Connecticut to win this title. She is currently studying theater at the Educational Center for the Arts and is attending high school in the state of Connecticut. She is an outdoors kind of girl and a killer dancer! She enjoys hiking, rock wall climbing, white water rafting, and much more! Garris aspires to become a trauma nurse and spends time shadowing nurses. She hopes to attend Southern Connecticut State University where she will study nursing. She made headlines after receiving the title of Miss Teen USA when she was crowned wearing her natural hair!