Another African Miss Universe is Crowned
Miss Universe 2011 was crowned at the ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil and the winner was Miss Angola Leila Lopes, who beat out the 88 other young women to win the world’s largest beauty pageant Monday night.
Lopes is only the 4th African woman to be crowned Miss Universe in the pageants’ 60 year history. She joins the last African winner from 1999 Mpule Kwelagobe (Miss Botswana) as well as 1992’s winner Miss Namibia Michelle McLean, and the first ever African Miss Universe, South African Margaret Gardiner who won her crown back in 1978.
Contestants hailing from 89 nations spent three weeks in Sao Paulo for the 60th anniversary of the beauty contest that had an anticipated worldwide audience of one billion.
Mexico’s Ximena Navarrete, last year’s winner, was on hand to relinquish her crown to 25-year-old Lopes, who according to her Facebook page was crowned Miss Angola UK 2010, Miss Fotogenia 2011 and Miss Angola 2011.
Lopes appeared before judges including race car driver Helio Castroneves to actress Vivica A. Fox and journalist Connie Chung in a bright yellow bikini and form-fitting gold and silver sequined evening gown.
Rounding out the top five at Monday’s pageant were Miss Brazil (5th), Miss China (4th), Miss Philippines (3rd) and 23-year-old Miss Ukraine Olesia Stefanko, who was the first runner-up. The remaining women in the top ten included those hailing from Australia, Costa Rica, France, Portugal and Panama.
Picture credit (crowning): Andre Penner/AP Photo – Miss Angola Leila Lopes, left, is crowned Miss Universe 2011 by Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete, of Mexico, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday Sept. 12, 2011.