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Miss Universe vows to help HIV patients

The brand new Miss Universe, Leila Lopes has said she wants to help her native Angola escape a history of war and impoverishment and work towards combating HIV.

Being crowned at the ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yesterday, the 25-year-old said that “as Miss Angola I’ve already done a lot to help my people.”

“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,” she said. “I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more.”

She also said she wants to help fight the corner for people with HIV around the globe.

Miss Lopes is the south west African country’s first winner Miss World, the world’s biggest beauty pageant. She beat 88 other contestants to win the title during the 60th anniversary of the contest. She replaces last year’s winner, Ximena Navarrete of Mexico.

She and fellow competitors spent the past three weeks in Sao Paulo, South America’s biggest city trying to learn samba dance steps, visiting poor children and kicking a football around for cameras.

Angola is one of Africa's major oil producers, but also one of the world's poorest countries.

It is struggling to overcome the physical, social and political legacy of the 27-year civil war that split the country apart after independence. It has also until now had a relatively low rate of HIV for countries in the same region. But now, since the war, people’s movement has become less restricted, and the likelihood of HIV reaching once-isolated communities has increased. In 2009, about 200,000 people in Angola were HIV positive, according to UN figures.

The show, hosted by Natalie Morales from NBC news and the Bravo network’s Andy Cohen, was broadcast live to about 170 countries. Morales, who is half Brazilian, said that “what’s most important is for the women to be beautiful inside and out.”

Asked along with the remaining five contestants what physical trait she would change if she could, Miss Lopes said: “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.”

Hayley attribution