Leila Lopes, the 25-year-old beauty from Angola, Africa, beat out 88 competitors to win the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant on September 12. She is one of only a handful of black women ever to be awarded that crown.
The soft-spoken stunner said she believes her smile and her ability to motivate others were her biggest weapons in the competition. “I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty,” she said. “I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I intend to follow these for the rest of my life.”
During the interview segment of the pageant, Lopes was asked if she’s ever had plastic surgery to augment or alter any of her physical traits. She responded confidently, “Thank God I’m very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Regarding her reign, Lopes intends to use her win to further her work serving her fellow Angolans. “As Miss Angola I’ve already done a lot to help my people,” she said. “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.”
When asked to share her thoughts about racism, Lopes replied, “Any racist needs to seek help. It’s not normal in the 21st century to think in that way.”
Miss Lopes’ beauty tips for young women who want to look and feel their best are simple: Get a lot of sleep, use sun block even when it’s not sunny and drink lots of water.