The stunning 25-year old beauty queen is a business major in London (now the luckiest city on the planet!) This modest lady believes that her smile is her best weapon.
In answer to one question that was asked of her, she said this: "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."
And one of those wonderful principles is helping those less fortunate than herself. She works with poor kids in Angola and wants to focus on the fight against HIV around the globe.
So what does any of this have to do with Cape Verde? Well, Leila was born in Angola to parents from Cape Verde! So her heritage is Cape Verdean. In fact, Angola, is a popular destination for Cape Verdean immigrants because of its proximity and because they fit right in with the Angolans who also speak Portuguese and have a similar culture based on their common blend of African and European roots.
One of the hot topics in the blogosphere centers around black women and the Miss Universe pageant. While there have been many black contestants in the pageant over the years, there have only been three previous black women who won the crown. Two of those women, Janelle "Penny" Commissiong (1977) and Wendy Fitzwilliams (1998) hail from the Caribbean island, Trinidad & Tobago. The third black title holder was Mpule Kwelagobe (1999) from Botswana and she was actually crowned by Fitzwilliams, then the previous year's winner!
With Lopes' win, she did what only these three other women had done before her in the 60-year history of the contest - in a competition filled with women with the "western look," a dark-skinned, 5 feet 10½ inch tall woman with a bright smile, winning personality and brains to match, came out on top, putting Africa squarely back on the map for beautiful and talented young women and breaking negative stereotypes of African women.
I would be willing to bet there are a millions of people around the world who are also satisfied with the way God created Leila Lopes and the inner beauty possessed by women the world over.