A 25-year-old business management student from the town of Benguela, Angola, Lopes beat 88 contestants from around the world. She is the first Angolan to ever win the title, and the second African woman; the first was Botswana’s Mpule Kwelaboge in 1999.
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Lopes says her smile and her “ability to motivate people” helped her win. “As Miss Angola, I’ve already done a lot to help my people,” she said. “I’ve worked with various social causes. 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. I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more.”
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Asked what, if anything, she would ever change about herself, Lopes said, “Thank God I’m very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said.