African beauty Leila Lopes is crowned Miss Universe 2011
Miss Angola Leila Lopes is crowned Miss Universe 2011 by Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete, of Mexico, in Sao Paulo, Brazil,
Monday Sept. 12, 2011. (AP)
Leila Lopes from Angola was crowned Miss Universe Monday night, smoothly handling an interview question about what physical trait she would change if could, while wearing a strapless cream-colored gown.
Lopes, Angola's first winner, beat out 88 other competitors to win the title during the 60th anniversary of the world's biggest beauty pageant.
She replaces last year's winner, Ximena Navarrete of Mexico.
"Thank God I'm very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn't change a thing," Lopes said when asked her interview question.
"I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. I have acquired many wonderful principals from my family and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life."
The first runner-up was 23-year-old Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine and the second runner-up was Priscila Machado of Brazil. The third was Miss Philippines and the fourth Miss China.
Contestants from 89 nations on six continents spent the past three weeks in Sao Paulo, trying to learn samba dance steps, visiting impoverished children and kicking a football around for cameras as the globe's biggest beauty contest is held in Brazil for the first time.
Before the contest began, judges offered little insight into who they thought might win.
"I know my job and I'll be tough, but fair," said pageant judge and journalist Connie Chung. "You have to keep in mind that these women are not objects just to be looked at. They're to be taken seriously. I want to choose somebody I take seriously and the world takes seriously, too."
Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe organization, was hyped for the night.