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How did it feel to win the 2011 Miss Universe title?
It’s a wonderful feeling. No matter how many friends I made during the contest, I never forgot that I was there to win. Fortunately I was the chosen one.

What made you decide to compete?
Everyone encouraged me to try out, but I was very shy. I never thought I’d be able to stand in front of so many people in a bikini. Then when everyone finally gave up pushing me, I suddenly wanted to do it and applied.

Is it true contestants aren’t allowed to have sex before the competition?
Yes! All the contes­tants are in the same hotel, and to go somewhere, we had to call the chaperone.

So had you ever done a sexy photo shoot before this?
No, never, but I felt very comfortable. I had fun with the Maxim crew. They told me they would make me shine, and that’s what happened!

Leila Lopes