Leila Lopes from Angola was crowned Miss Universe on Monday night, marking Angola’s first winner. The contestant cinched the crown when she answered an interview question about what physical trait she would change if she could by replying that she is satisfied with her inner beauty.
“Thank God I’m very satisfied with the way God created me, and I wouldn’t change a thing,” Miss Angola answered, according to the Washington Post. “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.”
Lopes also overcame Miss Brazil, a feat considering the pageant was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Angola woman became a crowd favorite by speaking Portuguese, Brazil’s language, as Angola is a former Portuguese colony.
As Miss Angola, Lopes said she “worked with various social causes,” the Washington Post reports.
“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.”
This win marks the first time an African woman has won the Miss Universe pageant since Miss Botswana’s win in 1999.
According to the BlogPost, Lopes’ win is expected to draw attention to the problems in Angola. The country was in a 27-year civil war until 2002 according to the CIA World Fact Book, and as of 2009, 38 percent of the country’s population lived in poverty.
The day after Lopes won the pageant, 17 Angolan citizens were sentenced to three months in prison for participating in a pro-democracy rally, according to Reuters.
Miss Universe’s first runner-up was Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine and the second runner-up Priscila Machado of Brazil.