Zozibini Tunzi hosts Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta to catch up on life after the crown

27 May 2020 | Angelique Reyes

The entire world is dealing under a pandemic scareand trying to cope up with the setbacks that comes along according to their own levels. The beauty queens who are not only role models to thousands of people out there but are also socially responsible to step up and encourage their followers to do the right thing. Our beauty queens are practicing social distancing and working on their advocacies as well via internet. Using the power of technology, the queens have decided to unite as one and help everyone fight with the pandemic under #UniverseUnited.

Miss Universe Organization posted a picture on their social media account stating that Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi and Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta will be conducting a live chat session to talk about the current happenings in their respective countries as well as what the two queens have been up to during all this time. Zozibini and Lara also spoke about how Lara’s life has been after being crowned as Miss Universe in 2000, completing 20 years of her journey in the beauty pageant world, and life post pageant. The live video chat was conducted on 26th May 2020 at 09:00 PM ET.



During the live chat, Zozibini started by saying that she feels great to be back and hosting a live session with one of the most successful Miss Universe queen. The two started by sharing few compliments and how they are excited to be finally doing a live session and Zozi complimented Lara by stating that she hasn’t aged a bit. Later the reigning Miss Universe asked the former Miss Universe about her experience and how she felt about celebrating her 20th anniversary as beauty queen. To which Lara answered with a smile on her face, “You know I have often been asked this question and I feel during my question and answer round at Miss Universe 2000, the answer I gave has revolutionized in a lot of way the pageant perceived for a lot of  young woman. But I didn’t know how that felt because I had no experience and I hadn’t won by then. But I genuinely believed that the platform would be an opportunity for me as woman to forge ahead in whatever choice and career I follow. It’s an amazing gift from the Universe to hold that title.” Moving forward, Zozi asked Lara if she felt that pageants still look the same or she feels that there has been any change?

Lara who has mentored the aspiring young girls in India under Miss India Organization who eventually represent India at Miss Universe stage stated that there have been tremendous changes in the parameters of which the pageant is conducted now compared to the beauty pageants that were conducted 20 years before. She further added that she had big shoes to fill as she was crowned by Mpule Kwelagobe of Botswana and Wendy Fitzwilliam of Trinidad and Tobago who have been more than just a beauty queen titleholder and went onto become more relevant. Lara also explained that Miss Universe pageant always had a profile where the woman who won were always more than how they looked on-stage. The queens have always been perceived as advocates and working aggressively in the various causes that queens had a chance for. She further mentioned Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh Nel-Peters, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Zozibini and stated, “You girls are very well spoken and are passionate about what you want with your strong voices and are not afraid to use it when needed. I think that is what beauty pageants stands for, young women around the world who are not just about their colour, how their hair looks like, or what your statistics or measurements are but it’s about how strong your voice is now.” Zozibini also mentioned that she has also seen the changes in the beauty pageants as when they watched pageants the girls were judged based on their measurement but now it’s about how strong their voices are and what they have to offer to the world.



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Zozibini and Lara also spoke about ‘Gender Equality’ which is Zozi’s advocacy and Lara also stands for the same. Lara explained to Zozi that she had spent about 14 years of her life as goodwill ambassador and every bit she had done to improve the society has counted. She explained that she was humbled and blessed that she was the voice to countless women especially from India as the voices of women in India are never heard. Lara also explained that she has been grateful for being a part of some great gender equality campaigns in India because India has a gender ratio difference, and many female feticide ratios in the country. With her campaigns, she propagated and pushed the PCP NDT ACT which forbids the disclosure of the sex of the child. Lara mentioned that everything we do leaves a mark on the society and that is what a Miss Universe queen stands for.

The two carried on their discussion about the increase in the gender-based violence especially during the Covid19. Lara went onto explain that she has always believed in lending her voice to whatever women empowerment campaigns she could and the issue of domestic violence has been one of the major problems for women across the globe as there were very less opportunities for women in the world. But women have now started to speak up about their experiences on various issues whether it is domestic violence, pay disparity, inclusion in the #MeToo movement, etc. The speaking up of women has provided various opportunities for the other women to hold onto which is a progress. Speaking about taking the gender-equality campaign, Lara mentioned that if one wants to solve the issue, they have to speak and take a stand for it together and not just run small campaign and laws should be strict that’s the thing that could bring in the change. Lara thanked Zozibini who had spoken to one of her guests on live about domestic abuse and mentioned that because of the pandemic scare and lockdown these small issues are forgotten but they need the light and voice to be addressed.

After the gender-equality issue, the two beauty queens spoke about Lara’s own skincare line ‘Arisa’ products. Lara went onto explain that she felt the need of skincare products that specifically focused on Indian skin at an affordable price and that’s how she started her own skincare line. The two also spoke about Bollywood movies and how Lara just moved along with the flow and landed up in the movie business. Zozi asked Lara about her future to which she answered that she is focusing on her brand as of now along with producing content for the movies as well as the digital space. Lara introduced her daughter Saira to Zozibini and spoke about the Africa Day.

In last few minutes of the live session, Lara Dutta spoke to Zozi about how challenging her reign has been till now but assured her that she is going to leave a legacy of her own different than any of the other Miss Universe queens. “You’re in an incredible opportunity where you can re-write about what is to be a pageant winner or a title holder in a time like this. You’ll leave a legacy to inspire the other women and you’ll figure out how to create the space and legacy.” The two concluded with urging people to stay safe and healthy and most importantly positive.