Out of 89 beauty queens around the world, Miss Angola was crowned Miss Universe at last night’s competition. The contestant is the first to do so from her African country, marked by its extreme poverty. The natural beauty beat out Miss Brazil, Miss China, Miss Philippines and Miss Ukraine, who rounded out the top five.
Leila Lopes, a 25-year-old business student from the town of Benguela, has used her pageant platform to further her work in the fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic that has taken a serious toll on her country. Just following the show, she revealed to reporters how her new title will help support her mission. "I've worked with various social causes. I work with poor kids, I work in the fight against HIV. I work to protect the elderly and I have to do everything that my country needs," she said. "I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more."
As a final question, Lopes was asked, "What physical trait would you change if you could?" The question wasn’t nearly as tough as the others but, as a Black woman, it was a chance for her to inspire millions. "Thank God I'm very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn't change a thing," Lopes 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."
(Photo: AP Photo/Andre Penner)