By JESSICA SATHERLEY
Taking the crown: Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, was crowned Miss Universe by the 2010 winner Miss Mexico, Ximena Navarrete in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Leila Lopes made history for her country yesterday, after becoming the very first Miss Angola to be crowned Miss Universe.
The 25-year-old laughed and smiled as she hugged runner-up Miss Ukraine, Olesia Stefanko, before having her crown firmly placed on her head at the pageant held in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The business student from Angola’s seaside city of Beguela, dazzled the panel of judges with both her beauty and brains.
A winning combination: Miss Angola's evening wear and swimsuit parade won her Miss Universe, as well as her intelligent answered
When she had been asked earlier what she might change about her physical characteristics, Leila replied that she was satisfied with who she was.
'I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty,' she told the judges and the audience.
The moment of glory: Leila Lopes can't stop smiling and laughing as she is crowned Miss Universe in front of the other contestants
'I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family, and I plan to follow those through the rest of my life.'
Her down-to-earth nature was complemented with immense outer beauty too though, which she showed off in a bright yellow bikini during the swimsuit parade.
Congratulations: Former Miss Universe, Ximena Navarrete of Mexico gives Leila a kiss on the cheek
After displaying her bikini body to millions of fans watching the pageant on TV around the world, Lopes paraded around the stage with poise in a form-fitting gold and silver sequinned evening gown.
Miss Angola bet 88 competitors in the 60th annual Miss Universe pageant.
Finalists accompanying Lopes into the top five were Miss Ukraine Olesia Stefanko, Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup, Miss China Luo Zilin and Miss Brazil Priscila Machado.
While the other countries that made the top ten were Miss Australia Scherri-lee Biggs, Miss Costa Rica Johanna Solano, Miss France Laury Thilleman, Miss Portugal Laura Goncalves and Miss Panama Sheldry Saez.
Top ten: The finalists making the top ten were Miss Australia, Miss Costa Rica, Miss France, Miss Ukraine, Miss Portugal, Miss Panama, Miss Philippines, Miss China and Miss Brazil
Finalist: Miss Brazil, Priscila Machado, made it into the top five in her home country, where the competition was held
Pretty in pink: Miss France, Laury Thlleman paraded in a pink bikini and a coral evening gown, but it wasn't enough to wow the judges
As well as competing in categories ranging from swimsuits to evening gowns, the women also had to answer the critical question that tells the judges a bit about them.
In fan voting, Lopes tallied only a 3.6 score for the swimsuit but earned a 7.2 for her evening gown.
Fan voting, however, did not count in the final tallies from nine judges.
The panelists, who ranged from race car driver Helio Castroneves to actress Vivica A. Fox and journalist Connie Chung, scored the women on each contest, narrowing from a group of 16 down to a final five.
Top five: Miss Universe, Ukraine's Olesya Stefanko, the Philippines' Shamcey Supsup, China's Luo Zilin, Brazil's Priscila Machado and Angola's Leila Lopes pose during the ceremony of coronation of Miss Universe 2011
Australia to America: Miss Australia Scherri-lee Biggs (left) models a silver gown, while Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, dazzled in a canary yellow gown (right)
Colourful crowd: The 89 contestants display an array of colourful dresses on stage in the pageant in Sao Paulo
The show was hosted by U.S. television personalities Andy Cohen and Natalie Morales.
Out of the past 13 pageants held in the past decade, seven have been won by Latina contestants, making Miss Angola’s win even more exciting for her home country.
Miss Angola started competing in the Miss Universe competitions in 1998, with the first ever contestant from the African nation being Emilia Guardado.
Since 1997, two Miss Angolas have been semi-finalists in the top 15 and one made it into the top 10, but Leila Lopes is the first to be crowned with the title.
Stage show: Millions of fans around the world watch the 60th annual Miss Universe competition on television
Who will it be? Miss Ukraine, Olesia Stefanko, and Miss Angola hold each other's hands and wait to find out who is the winner, before Leila Lopes' name was called
Lost for words: Miss Angola Leila Lopes was greeted by the other participants after being crowned Miss Universe