Leila Lopes of Angola Wins Miss Universe 2011

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REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Twenty-five year old business student Leila Lopes won the title of Miss Universe at last night’s pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Lopes, the first Angolan ever to walk away with the crown, handled the final question with poise and charm. Asked which of her physical traits she would like to change, she said she’d prefer to stay as she is. “Thank God I’m very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. “I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life.”

(PHOTOS: The Best National Costumes of 2010)

The first runner-up was Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine, and the second runner-up was Miss Brazil Priscila Machado. Miss Philippines and Miss China rounded out the Top 5.

Lopes won over the audience by speaking in Portuguese at various points during the pageant. (Angola, like Brazil, is a former Portuguese colony.) She plans to continue her work raising awareness about HIV and campaigning for the rights of underprivileged children and the elderly. “I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more,” she said.
Lopes also made NewsFeed’s list of the “best” national costumes for her ocean-themed dress covered in faux coral and plastic fish. The actual prize went to Miss Panama Sheldry Saez, who has several thousand birds to thank for her fashion forward plumage.
PHOTOS: The Best National Costumes of 2011

William Lee Adams is a staff writer at the London bureau of TIME. Find him on Twitter at @willyleeadams or on Facebook. You can also continue the discussion on TIME‘s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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