Miss South Africa Ziphozakhe Zokufa will have to defy the odds – literally – if she is to win Sunday’s Miss Universe pageant in Miami.
Leading betting company Paddy Power has the Port Elizabeth-born beauty as one of the outsiders at 50-1 to triumph. Miss Mexico and Miss Colombia are joint favourites at 6-1, followed by Miss USA and Miss India at 8-1, Venezuela at 10-1, and Sweden, Spain, Australia and Costa Rica at 12-1.
If she wins, Zokufa, 25, will only be the second beauty queen from Africa to snatch the crown between 1995 and 2013 (the pageant wasn’t staged last year). Miss Botswana, Mpule Kwelagobe, was crowned Miss Universe in 1999.
Not that she seems daunted by the task of succeeding outgoing Miss Universe Gabriela Isler.
Her posts on Instagram and Twitter of late are peppered with selfies with other contestants and show her exploring the host city, and even playing golf with Donald Trump.
In an interview with the Miss Universe YouTube page last week, Zokufa praised her parents for giving her the space to pursue her dreams.
She said: “My parents have always been supportive of what my siblings and I wanted to do.
“Growing up they obviously didn’t have the opportunities that we have, so being here representing my country at Miss Universe is a dream come true.”
Zokufa was crowned Miss South Africa in December after Rolene Strauss won the Miss World competition in London.