"Thank God I'm
very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn't
change a thing," Lopes said. "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."
runner-up was 23-year-old Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine and the
second runner-up was Priscila Machado of Brazil. The third
was Miss Philippines and the fourth Miss China.
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 Miss Universe pageant
came to Brazil for the first time.
against a home country favorite, Lopes won over the
audience, speaking in the shared language of Portuguese.
Angola, like Brazil, is a former Portuguese colony.
the crowd and we were all behind her," said Brazilian
Natalie Bursztyn, 20, who was in the crowd inside Credicard
Hall where the event took place. "It was great that the
judges also saw what the fans saw and gave her the crown.
Her dress was beautiful and she knew exactly what to say
when they asked her the question about her looks."
Another fan in the
audience, Carolina Rocha, said Lopes' win was "well
deserved, we were cheering for her all along. Her smile and
her friendliness was what set her apart from the others. She
also answered her question very well, that likely helped her
journalist Connie Chung was one of the celebrity judges, and
said before the competition that she was taking the contest
"I know my job and
I'll be tough, but fair," Chung said. "You have to keep in
mind that these women are not objects just to be looked at.
They're to be taken seriously. I want to choose somebody I
take seriously and the world takes seriously, too."
president of the Miss Universe organization, was hyped for
"It's our 60th
anniversary, it's a very big show," she said. "We're
anticipating close to a billion viewers from around the
Shugart said it
was fitting the globe's biggest beauty pageant be held in
Brazil at this time, as the nation prepares to host some
major events in the coming years.
"I don't think
there is any doubt in the rest of the world's mind that
Brazil is the place, between hosting the Olympics and
hosting the World Cup," she said. "I love the fact we're
going to kick it off. I always say we're the 'World Cup' of
must never have been married or had children and must be at
least 18 years of age and under 27 years of age by Feb. 1 of
the competition year.
hosted by NBC "Today" anchor Natalie Morales and the Bravo
network's Andy Cohen, was broadcastr live on NBC and
distributed to about 170 countries. The contest is co-owned
by Donald Trump and NBC, and the celebrity judges included
Chung and two prominent Brazilians, supermodel Isabeli
Fontana and Indy race car driver Helio Castroneves.
Morales, who is
half Brazilian, said that "what's most important is for the
women to be beautiful inside and out."
For Cohen, the
task of hosting was an easy one.
"It's a fun job.
All I have to do is stand there, smile and scream the names
of countries," he said.
women and men jostled for chances to have their photos taken
with stars on the red carpet. Some traveled from across the
globe to support contestants.
17, arrived from Kosovo to cheer on her sister, Aferdita
Dreshaj, who is representing the European country.
"It doesn't really
matter the outcome, she is already a winner in our eye and
we are so proud of her," she said. "This has been an
incredible experience for her and for all of us. It's great
for her to be representing our country in an event like
There have been no
headline-grabbing gaffes going into this year's competition,
as opposed to past years that have seen controversies of
various stripes. The show itself went off without a hitch.
Some of the
contestants have complained to the local news media about
the size of bikinis used in some photo shoots, with Miss
Mexico Karin Ontiveros saying they were "very small."
That was enough to
draw chuckles in Brazil, where women from all walks of life,
not just beauty queens, sport barely there swimwear on
beaches throughout the country.
Miss USA Alyssa
Campanella, from California, failed to end a long losing
spell for the U.S. in the competition. An American has not
been named Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in
started as a local bathing suit revue in Long Beach,
California, organized by a swimwear company.