Brooke Bruk-Jackson, crowned Miss Universe Zimbabwe 2023 amid controversy, prepares to represent the nation on the international stage.

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Amidst a whirlwind of controversy, Brooke Bruk-Jackson emerged as the winner of Miss Universe Zimbabwe 2023, earning the right to represent her nation on the global stage. Her victory marks a significant moment in Zimbabwe’s beauty pageant history and has ignited discussions about representation and race.

Who is Brooke Bruk-Jackson?

Hailing from the capital city of Harare, the 21-year-old model, Brooke Bruk-Jackson, secured her place as Zimbabwe’s representative in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, scheduled for December in El Salvador. Her triumph in the competition also marked a milestone as it was the first time in 22 years that Miss Universe Zimbabwe took place in the country.

Bruk-Jackson’s win, however, did not come without controversy. Zimbabwe’s complex history, marked by colonialism and the leadership of former President Robert Mugabe, has left deep racial divisions in the nation. White Zimbabweans make up a minuscule fraction of the population, less than one percent, according to the 2022 census.

Responding to concerns about her race representing a predominantly Black nation, Bruk-Jackson emphasized her belief in inclusivity and stated, “Nobody should define you by your color, by the way you look, or by the shape of your body.” She highlighted that Miss Universe welcomes participants from diverse backgrounds, irrespective of their color or culture.

The announcement of her victory stirred both support and opposition among Zimbabweans. While some argued that a white winner didn’t accurately represent their country, others saw her as a deserving champion. On social media, discussions about race, identity, and representation in beauty pageants gained momentum.

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As Bruk-Jackson prepares to take the international stage in El Salvador, her journey has not only brought attention to the evolving landscape of beauty pageants but also underscored the complexities of identity and race in a country with a tumultuous history. The world will be watching as she competes in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant, where she hopes to inspire inclusivity and challenge stereotypes.