When posed a question on what physical trait she would change during the personality interview session of the competition, Leila Lopes from Angola stated that it was her inner beauty that counted the most.
That, perhaps, finally convinced the judges this morning to crown the 25-year-old as the new Miss Universe, beating 88 contestants from around the globe.
The event, which was held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, saw Lopes make up the top five alongside Miss Philippines, Miss China, Miss Ukraine and Miss Brazil
A question was posed to all of them from the judges, to which Lopes answered: “Thank God I’m very satisfied with the way God created me and I wouldn’t change a thing.”
“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,” she added.
First runner-up was Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine and second runner-up was Priscila Machado of Brazil.
Henry not in top 16
Malaysia’s dream was dashed early in the competition as contestant Deborah Henry failed to make it to the top 16 despite nine months of intensive training.
She carried high hopes in the competition as an established television presenter who has the Miss World Malaysia 2007 title under her belt, on top of being a skilled runway model.
However, she only appeared on camera once this morning, wearing a luscious off-shoulder gown.
The top 16 then competed in swimsuits, followed by the second cut which saw top 10 finalists compete in evening gowns and the final cut left only five contestants on stage.
At The Social in Bangsar where the show was broadcast live, Henry’s supporters could not help but to feel disappointed.
“It was a real surprise to see her not even making it to the top 16 as the international community gave her good reviews on her potential before the competition,” he told Komunitikini.
“She deserved to win the title,” he added.
Some other fans, who declined to be named, claimed an element of politics has encroached on the competition.
“Miss Portugal was a big underdog, but she reached the top 16,” they said.
It is noted that Angola is also a former Portuguese colony in South-Central Africa.
Judges for the preliminary stage, who decided on the first cut, were largely made up of corporate leaders and media personalities based in the US.
Telecast judges, on the other hand, consisted of among others, Brazilian personalities.
Henry wore a Wau Bulan-inspired national costume during the preliminary stage, where the traditional hand-woven fabric fitted Henry’s 32-24-35 body like a second skin.
Henry shares her moments in Brazil
Photos by AFP and Miss Universe Malaysia facebook page