Miss Angola “Leila Lopes” has been named this year’s Miss Universe.
In the final moments of Telemundo’s telecast, Miss Ukraine was named first runner up, Miss Brazil second runner up, Miss Philippines third runner up and Miss China fourth runner up.
The top five candidates had faced a final questions round and stroll in their evening gown Monday from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“Thank God I am very well satisfied with the way God me – and I wouldn’t change a thing,” Miss Angola had said after being asked which physical characteristics she would change and why.
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.
Before the contest began, judges offered little insight into who they thought might win.
“I know my job and I’ll be tough, but fair,” said pageant judge and journalist Connie Chung. “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.”
The pageant, hosted by NBC “Today” anchor Natalie Morales and the Bravo network’s Andy Cohen, aired live on NBC / Telemundo and was distributed to about 170 countries. The contest is co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC, and was judged by celebrities including Connie Chung, 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.”
She quickly added that as a Latina herself, she had no doubt “they’re the most beautiful women in the world.”
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.
Cohen said after the big event he would be taking advantage of Sao Paulo’s noted nightlife.
“I’m going to party hard tonight. That’s what you do in Sao Paulo. We’re going to see the sunrise tonight,” he said. “I’m going to samba … and then I’m going to samba some more.”
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Chicago