Miss Universe 2011 winner is Miss Angola, Leila Lopes [Video]
A new Miss Universe was crowned Monday night: She's Miss Angola, business student Leila Lopes, and she plans to work on HIV advocacy worldwide, in addition to helping her own country.
"As Miss Angola I've already done a lot to help my people," Lopes, 25, said Tuesday morning after taking home the crown. "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.
"I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more."
Those who weren't watching the Denver Broncos notch a loss to the Oakland Raiders were treated to a parade of international hotties doing their pageant thing in Sao Paulo, Brazil -- and that "pageant thing" of course includes a final round of questions for the Top 5.
This year's questions included three that might've come directly from the Ministry of Gossip, plus a couple that clearly were not loaded with any political agenda whatsoever:
- Nude beaches are common in some parts of the world. Is public nudity appropriate or inappropriate and why?
- If you could change one of your physical characteristics, which one would it be and why?
- If you could trade lives with anyone in history, who would it be and why?
- Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love? Why and why not?
- What would you do to avoid fighting a war that you did not agree with it?
Miss Philippines stuck to her guns on the faith front, saying she wouldn't marry a person if she had to convert to do so, and that a person who loved her would respect her enough to love her God too. Miss Angola stuck with her own physical characteristics, thanking God for doing right by her in the looks department and reminding people that we should all respect one another.
Miss Ukraine, meanwhile, said she would swap lives with Cleopatra -- "a very powerful and strong woman who is very much worthy of respect."
Here's the order in which they finished: Miss China, Luo Zilin, fourth runner-up; Miss Philippines, Shamcey Supsup, third runner-up; Miss Brazil, Priscila Machado, second runner-up; and Miss Ukraine, Olesia Stefanko, first runner-up.
Lopes was crowned by Miss Universe 2010, Ximena Navarrete from Mexico. Miss USA (and Miss California) Alyssa Campanella made it into 2011's Top 15 out of a total of 88 contestants. Who advanced was decided in rounds of preliminary competition held during the week leading up to Monday night's show.
According to pageant watchers inside the arena, Lopes charmed the locals in part by speaking Portuguese, a language former colonies Angola and Brazil share.
"She captivated the crowd and we were all behind her," said Brazilian Natalie Bursztyn, 20. "It was great that the judges also saw what the fans saw and gave her the crown."
And for the football fans -- plus anyone who couldn't tear themselves away from the online post-game debate that followed the GOP candidates' debate -- we've included video from the pageant's swimsuit photo shoot, down below. Why? Because we know you, and we love you.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Miss Angola 2011, Leila Lopes, is crowned Miss Universe 2011 by her predecessor, Ximena Navarrete, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday. Credit: Darren Decker / European Pressphoto Agency