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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Miss Angola Leila Lopes Named Miss Universe 2011

Sao Paulo, Brazil
–  A statuesque, dusky "black Barbie doll" Miss Angola Leila Lopes, a business management student in London from the town of Benguela, Angola was named the Miss Universe 2011 beating 88 other gorgeous hopefuls from different parts of the world. It is the first time in history of the beauty pageant and of this African country and former Portuguese colony to win the much coveted title or any beauty pageant competition it participated. Her ordinary, common and stereotypical answer makes her win the 60th Miss Universe which took place last September 12, 2011 at Credicard Hall in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Tony Award winning actress Lea Salonga asked the question to Miss Angola, “If you could change one of your physical characteristics, which one would it be and why?” which she confidently answered, “Thank God I’m very well satisfied with the way that God created me and I wouldn’t change a thing. I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty, I have my principles, I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family and I plan to follow these through the rest of my life and now I want to give all of you a piece of advice: Respect one another.” Until now Miss Angola’s response to the said final Q&A generated a lot of polarizing comments and discussions among people around the world. They are not convinced with her somewhat “imitated and rehearsed” answer commonly answered by previous contestants and her fellow finalists and even doubted her winning. Scripted and overused questions created by the MUO staff and was drawn lots and picked by judges to ask the final five contestants heightened the issue and also because the question is not really the judge personal question but was created for them to ask. Angola’s win of Miss Universe will not only bring honor to her country but also a privilege to sow peace, unity and harmony to her strife torn country divided by decades of civil war.
         1st runner up is Ukraine, Olesya Stefanko, 2nd runner up is the hometown girl Brazil, Priscila Machado, 3rd runner up is Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup whose answer regarded by many as the best answer of the night and 4th runner up went to Miss China Luo Zilin. Rounding up the top 16 semifinalists were candidates from France, Kosovo, Colombia, Australia, Puerto Rico, Netherlands, USA, Panama, Costa Rica, Portugal (internet votes) and Venezuela. Specials awards were also given to the following: Most Photogenic – Miss Sweden, Ronnia Fornstedt, Miss Congeniality – Miss Montenegro, Nikolina Loncar given during the preliminary competition and Best in National Costume – Miss Panama, Sheldry Saez which was announced during the finals night. For the first time in the history of Miss Universe, worldwide audience got to select one candidate who will automatically advances to the semifinal round by voting for her online through the official Miss Universe website and NBC.com.This year, the lucky girl is Miss Portugal, Laura Goncalves.
         The event were hosted by news anchor and co-host on NBC’s “Today” Natalie Morales and host of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens: Live” Andy Cohen with color commentaries from Style Network Jeannie Mai and Miss USA 2004 Shandi Finnessey but I love the former because she is knowledgeable, impartial, fair, friendly, warm and most of all, knows what she is doing. The judges include Helios Castroneves, three-time winner of Indianapolis 500, Connie Chung, US broadcast legend, Isabeli Fontana, Brazilian supermodel, Vivica Fox, Actress and Television producer, Adrienne Maloof, From Bravo’s hit series “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, Lea Salonga, Laurence Olivier and Tony award winning actress, Amelia Vega, Miss Universe 2011, Italo Zanzi, Deputy Secretary General of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Carribean Association of Football) and Farouk Shami, owner of hair and skin care Farouk Systems.
         Miss Universe is not complete without its fair share of controversy which makes it different from all other international beauty pageant competitions and gives the pageant its unique identity. Controversy includes Miss Colombia Catalina Robayo was reprimanded for having pictures taken of her without undies showing some skin, Miss China Luo Zilin and her national director Yue Sai Kan arranged a meeting with a preliminary judge of the competition and Miss USA Alyssa Campanella’s skinny body incited some concerns and anxious comments from pageant followers.

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