The stunning Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011 in the sexy Brazilian city before an audience that was truly pleased by the win. She is only one of a handful of black women to win the pageant to date.
Born to Cape Verdean immigrants in Benguela, Angola, Lopes is a business management student in Great Britain, where she was crowned Miss Angola UK on October 8, 2010, the official representative of the Angolan community in the United Kingdom to the 2011 Miss Angola pageant.
Lopes, who stands 1.79 m (5 ft 10 1⁄2 in) tall, competed as one of 21 finalists in her country’s national beauty pageant, Miss Angola, held in Luanda on December 18, 2010, where she obtained the Photogenic Award and became the eventual winner of the title, gaining the right to represent Angola in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant.
Miss Brazil, Priscila Machado, placed third while Miss Philippines, Shamcey Supsup, was fourth and Miss China, Ximena Navarette, fifth. Miss Brazil was the only beauty from Latin America to make the top five though Miss Panama, Miss Costa Rica and Miss Puerto Rico all made the top 10.
The pageant was hosted by Natalie Morales and Andy Cohen and judged by Helio Castroneves, Connie Chung, Isabeli Fontana, Vivica Fox, Adrienne Maloof, Amelia Vega and Filipina singer Lea Salonga.
Contestants from 89 nations on six continents spent the past three weeks in Sao Paulo, trying to learn samba dance steps, visiting impoverished children and kicking a football around for cameras as the globe’s biggest beauty contest is held in Brazil for the first time.
Mexico’s Ximena Navarrete, won the crown last year in Las Vegas.