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Leila Lopes is living proof of the old adage that says, “never say never,” because she accomplished something that hadn’t been previously done in her community. The 26-year-old business student was crowned Miss Universe in September 2011, which made her the first winner from Angola to take the title.

“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 credits her smile and ability “to motivate people” for her win. While flashing said radiant smile and happy tears steaming down her face, she received her crown from 2010 winner Ximena Navarrete of Mexico. Not one to just get over on her looks, Lopes plans to be proactive in order to make her mark on the world. She has pledged to help fight AIDS and poverty.