Leila Lopes (Miss Universe)

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Leila Lopes
Beauty pageant titleholder
File:Leila Lopes 2012 Shankbone.jpg
Lopes at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival world premiere of Mansome
Born Leila Luliana da Costa Vieira Lopes[1]
(1986-02-26) 26 February 1986 (age 32)[1]
Benguela, Angola[2]
Other names Leila Lopes
Residence New York City, USA[3]
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)[4]
Title(s) Miss Angola UK 2010
Miss Angola 2010
Miss Universe 2011
Miss Angola 2010
(Miss Photogenic)
Miss Universe 2011
Spouse Osi Umenyiora (m. 2015)

Leila Luliana da Costa Vieira Lopes (born 26 February 1986) is an Angolan actress, model and beauty queen who won the titles of Miss Angola UK 2010, Miss Angola 2010 and Miss Universe 2011.

Early life

Lopes was born on 26 February 1986 in Benguela, Benguela Province, Angola.[5][6][7] Prior to being a contestant in beauty pageants, she studied business management at University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich, England.[6][8][9] Lopes is actively involved in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and the discrimination that people with the disease experience.[6][10][11]


Miss Angola UK 2010

While living and studying in Britain, she participated in Miss Angola UK on 8 October 2010. Lopes won the title, giving her the opportunity to represent the British Angolan community in Miss Angola 2011.[12]

Miss Angola 2010

Lopes beat 20 other candidates to be named Miss Angola in Luanda on 18 December 2010, gaining her the right to represent Angola in Miss Universe 2011.[13] She also obtained the Photogenic Award during the contest.[14]

Miss Universe 2011

After being crowned Miss Universe

On 12 September 2011, Lopes was crowned Miss Universe in São Paulo, Brazil, receiving the title from the former Miss Universe Ximena Navarrete of Mexico.[15][16] She is currently the 60th Miss Universe titleholder, and is the first Angolan woman to hold the position.[17] Lopes is the seventh woman of African descent to win the title since the beginning of the worldwide pageant (following Miss Trinidad and Tobago in 1977, Miss South Africa in 1978, Miss Namibia in 1992, Miss USA in 1995, Miss Trinidad and Tobago 1998, and Miss Botswana in 1999) and the fourth African woman from the African continent to win following Mpule Kwelagobe, Miss Universe 1999 from Botswana.[18] Lopes also became the first woman from Angola to win a "Big Four" beauty pageant.[citation needed]

In October 2011, Lopes paid a visit to Indonesia where she attended local charity events and Puteri Indonesia 2011 Pageant held at Jakarta Convention Center, in Jakarta.[19][20]

In December 2011, Lopes was invited to attend the first edition of Miss Gabon Pageant in Libreville, Gabon where she crowned the first Gabonese representative to Miss Universe in history, Marie-Noëlle Ada Meyo from Ngounié Province.[21]

In February 2012, Lopes visited Johannesburg, South Africa. On arrival she was welcomed by Miss South Africa 2011 Melinda Bam at a glitzy red carpet event in Sun City. During her visit, Lopes attended a launch event for African Fashion International on February 16 in support of Joburg Fashion Week 2012, which is scheduled to take place in the following month. She also visited one of Melinda Bam's supported charities - Thuthuzela, an NGO which looks after abandoned and orphaned children in Alexandra Township. Lopes also attended the State of the Province Address by Honourable Thandi Modise, Premier of the North-West, on February 17 at the North-West University, Mafikeng Campus.[22]

Lopes traveled to Düsseldorf, Germany with her sister titleholders Alyssa Campanella and Danielle Doty for a week-long USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour from 9–14 March 2012. During the week, she also participated the Beauty International Trade Show which took place at Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre.[23]

Lopes walked the red carpet of the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on 23 May 2012. She also attended the De Grisogono Glam Extravaganza held at the Hotel Du Cap Eden-Roc in Cap D'Antibes, France on the same day. Prior to her visit to France, she was in Lisbon, Portugal for a series of photoshoots and television appearances. Her short visit in Portugal was upon the invitation of Maxim Portugal Magazine.[24][25]

In June 2012, Lopes embarked on a 5-country West African tour that took her to Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria.[26] Later that month, Lopes attended the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[27][28]

In October 2012, Lopes traveled to Nicaragua for the "Fashion for Smiles", a spectacular fashion show which organized by Operation Smile Nicaragua with the collaboration from Silhuetas models, took place at the Crowne Plaza Convention Center in Managua with the participation of 15 of Miss Universe 2012 competitors from the Americas.[29]

During her reign, Lopes traveled to Singapore, Indonesia, Angola, Cambodia, Bahamas, Gabon, Jamaica, South Africa, Germany, Dominican Republic, Portugal, France, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Brazil, Guyana, Nicaragua, Namibia, Kenya, Mozambique, Russia and numerous trips around the USA.

Criticisms and controversies

Legitimacy of Miss Angola UK 2010 victory

After Lopes was crowned Miss Universe 2011, allegations arose that false documents were used to allow her to participate in Miss Angola UK (her win in this round gave her the ability to compete in Miss Angola and subsequently Miss Universe).[12][30][31][32] It was claimed that Lopes had never lived outside of Angola at the time she competed in Miss Angola UK and therefore should not have been allowed to enter a competition that was exclusively for Angolan citizens living in the UK.[32][33] The controversy began after anonymous witnesses stated[34][35] that Lopes had joined the contest after the auditions had finished, and Mukano Charles[36][37] an Angolan promoter, had told Miss Angola UK candidates that he had cast her privately.[34][38] The concept of a private casting led some of the candidates to believe that it may have taken place in Angola.[35]

Claims of bribery[32][38] arose after Charles had been seen conversing with a judge while the contestants were changing outfits.[34] In 2009, Mukano Charles was accused of involvement with counterfeit documents that allowed a Cape Verdean citizen to participate in Miss Angola[30][34] and in October 2010, an anonymous colleague stated that Charles would bring women from Iraq and India and pass them off as Angolans so that they could compete in Miss Angola.[34] Such incidences have led some to believe that Charles is involved in fraud and Lopes' alleged association with him in Miss Angola UK has resulted in these claims emerging.

I honestly don't know where they got that information. I gave Miss Universe all the required documentation. I'm legal. I just would like to begin the work of Miss Universe. What was said doesn't affect me because I know that [the naysayers] are in the wrong and I'm in the right. I have the documentation in my hands.

Leila Lopes, Interview with AOL Latino.[39][40]

The use of false documents has since been denied by both Lopes and the Miss Universe organizers[40][41] and Lopes herself has stated that she had lived in England for a total of four years, including the two years that she was there studying.[1][42] Any claims that Lopes was ineligible to compete in Miss Angola UK are yet to be backed up with any form of conclusive evidence.[43]

Personal life

In February 2013, she became engaged to former New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora in Monaco.[44] Leila Lopes got married to Osi Umenyiora on Saturday, 30 May 2015.[45]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Leila Lopes desmente descendência e acredita na inteligência para se chegar a Miss". Notícias Angola. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "noticias" defined multiple times with different content
  2. "Leila Lopes crowned Miss Angola 2011". Angola Press Agency. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  3. "Miss Angola Leila Lopes Crowned Miss Universe 2011; What will the Winner Get?". International Business Times. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  4. "Leila: The girl from Benguela has ascended to the throne of beauty". Jornal de Angola. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  5. Gil, Liliana (13 September 2011). "Congratulations Miss Angola! Latinas Dominate Audience Voting". Fox News Latino. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Leila Lopes Bio". Miss Universe Speakers Bureau. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  7. "Miss Universe Leila Lopes Covers Maxim Portugal". Mankind Unplugged. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  8. "Beleza made in Benguela". Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  9. "Rendezvous With Miss Universe and Puteri Indonesia 2011 Part 1". Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  10. "Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes Named Ambassador of HIV Prevention For AID FOR AIDS International". Aid For AIDS International. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  11. "Miss Universe on Mission To Educate Africa & The World". Anurun Productions. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Dupri, Alexx. "Miss Universe 2011 Accused of Fabricating Documents". Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  13. "Twenty-one candidates fight today for the title of Miss Angola 2011". Angola Press Agency. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  14. "President of the Republic attends Miss Angola 2011". Angola Press Agency. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 18 December 2010. 
  15. Elliott, Christopher (14 September 2011). "Miss Universe 2011 pageant crowns Miss Angola, Leila Lopes". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  16. Miss Angola Leila Lopes is Miss Universe 2011! retrieved 12 September 2011
  17. "Miss Angola Leila Lopes named Miss Universe at 60th annual pageant in Brazil". Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  18. "Angolan Leila Lopes Is The Fourth African To Win Miss Universe". Shadders. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  19. "Miss Universe Goes Sideways in Indonesia". Asia Sentinel. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  20. "Miss Universe 2011 in Indonesia". Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  21. "Marie Noelle Ada : Miss Universe Gabon 2012". Livewireworld. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  22. "Leila Lopes Miss Universe arrived to South Africa" Check |url= value (help). Examiner. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  23. "MISS UNIVERSE, MISS USA, MISS TEEN USA SET TO TRAVEL TO GERMANY ON USO TOUR". United Service Organizations INC. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  24. "Leila Lopes Attends 65th Cannes Film Festival Party". Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  25. "Leila Lopes mostra porque é a mais bela do Universo". Diário de Notícias. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2012. 
  26. "Saturday Exclusive: Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes SOS Tour To West Africa". PR UNO Limited. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  27. "Miss Universe and Drylands Expert Tag Together, Calling for Greater Efforts to Secure Healthy Soils and Combat Desertification". UNCCD. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  28. "Miss Universo 2011 participa da Rio+20". Grupo Bandeirantes de Comunicação. 17 June 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  29. "Fashion for Smiles: A Successful Event". Global Beauties. 20 October 2012. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 "¿Hubo fraude en Miss Universo 2011? (Short version)". Infobae.com. 14 September 2011. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  31. "Did Miss Universe use false documents to get into competition? Miss Angola's victory questioned over British student status". London: Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 16 September 2011. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 "Miss Universe Accused of Faking Documents for Pageant". ABC News. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  33. "Mid Day: Miss Universe accused of faking documents". MiD Day Infomedia Ltd. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 "Comunidade denuncia irregularidades no Miss Angola Reino Unido". CLUB-K. 17 October 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Miss Universe: Organisers Deny Leila Lopes' Pageant Fraud Accusations". International Business Times. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  36. Jornal de Angola: Mukano Charles artist from Negage Retrieved 10 October 2011 (pt)
  37. Facebook profile of Mukano Charles Retrieved 18 September 2011
  38. 38.0 38.1 "Miss Universe 2011 controversy: Leila Lopes’ Pageant Fraud Accusations". OMG Nigeria. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  39. "Miss Universe Leila Lopes answers fraud allegations, critics". AOL Latino. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2012. 
  40. 40.0 40.1 "Miss Universe Organizers, Miss Angola Leila Lopes Deny False Document Claims". International Business Times. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2012.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "deny" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "deny" defined multiple times with different content
  41. "PIX Morning News – Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes First Interview (9-19-11)". Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  42. "Miss Universe Leila Lopes Responds to Her Haters and More". Eurweb.com. Retrieved 7 October 2011. 
  43. "Miss Universe 2011 Controversy: Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, Not Really African?". International Business Times AU. Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  44. http://igboweddingsonline.com/miss-universe-2011-leila-lopes-ny-giants-osi-umenyiora/
  45. http://www.angonoticias.com/Artigos/item/43071/leila-lopes-%E2%80%9Cas-angolanas-estao-mais-poderosas-determinadas-e-independentes%E2%80%9D

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Mexico Ximena Navarrete
Miss Universe
Succeeded by
United States Olivia Culpo
Preceded by
Jurema Ferraz
Miss Angola
Succeeded by
Marcelina Vahekeni