Making a great issue is a lot of work, planning, discussions, networking, phone calls, emails and sometimes chance encounters. For example, in order to make this piece happening, our beauty editor Olivia Senghor used her network to interview Leila Lopes, the one and only “Miss Angola 2011”, who became the second African woman and the fourth black woman in the world to win the Miss Universe title in 2011.

The 510” woman from Benguela, eldest of 6 siblings, grew up watching beauty pageants on TV while dreaming to represent her country on the miss Universe stage as well as doing humanitarian work. Her career started in October 2010 with her first title as miss Angola UK whereas she was studying in the UK. On December the same year she conquered miss Angola national pageant. Therefore, she had to stay in the country and drop out school until Miss Universe contest. In the meantime, Leila started her dream job, working in many social causes such as providing better life and education for underprivileged children, fighting against malaria and HIV-Aids discrimination. In mid-August 2011, she flew to Brazil where she felt like home for the miss universe competition and the rest is history. Her only regret is not having finished school before the beauty pageant. Because as soon as she won her first major contest, there were no turning back. Including meeting her husband Osi Umenyiora a British-born and proud Nigerian former NFL player. She is now back to school and admits it is pretty hard to keep up but her projects fuel her. She dreams of having a happy and healthy family, preparing to launch her line of body care as well as baby and hair care products. In the meantime, she is sharing with Olivia her secrets of beauty.

Name 5 products you can’t live without?
Coconut oil for my Afro hair, Leave-in conditioner from Nature gentle care, Face moisturizer, Body moisturizer, Lip balm, all from Nature gentle care

What’s your favorite African beauty product?
My favorite African beauty product right now is my leave-in conditioner from Nature gentle care. One of its main ingredients is Argan oil which works very well in my hair and also smells great. By the way guys, in case you have missed it, Nature gentle care is a brand Leila adores and endorses fully.  A must for us to try! I promise I will make a review on them soon!

Do you have any tips to stay young, beautiful and fresh? If so, what is your skin’s daily routine?  What is your nightly routine?
I became vegetarian few months ago and I can definitely say that it has changed me for the best . A diet rich in vegetables and grains and natural juices for me is the best keys to have a clear, youthful fresh skin and healthier hair. I also try to get as much sleep as I can and I really try to drink at least 2L of water per day. My skin routine is pretty simple. I wash my face with Avene cleanance cleansing gel and apply cleanance expert moisturizer also from avene. During winter time, my skin tends to get a little dry so once a week, I put natural aloe Vera (from the plant) all over my face, allow it to dry and go to sleep.

How do you take care of your hair? Do you use any specific products?
I decided to stop wearing extensions 1 month ago. I went to a hairdresser and cut half of my hair because it had lots of heat damage. Now that it’s completely natural, I wash and deep condition twice a week and always use coconut oil to give me that moisture and shine that I need and I apply a good amount of my leave-in conditioner to activate the curls and control the volume.

What about your make up look?
I always go for a very simple make up. My favorite brand right now is Nars. I love all their products and I also love the fact that the line of foundation carries a lot of different shades for black people.

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