It was a night to remember in Credicard Hall, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The world (or rather, universe) welcomed their new queen. And by queen, we mean the woman who took the throne for Miss Universe 2011.

88 candidates from around the globe took part in the glorious glimmer and shine event. The contestant spent the past three weeks in Sao Paulo, learning samba dance steps, visiting impoverished children, and kicking a football around for the cameras in true Brazilian style.

But let’s cut to the glamour part.

The two-hour ceremony was hosted by American news anchor Natalie Morales and American TV host Andy Cohen. And all 88 candidates graced the stage with their amazingly beautiful physiques as well as respective national costumes (which Sheldry Saez of Panama bagged the award for).

Our very own Miss Universe Malaysia 2011, Deborah Henry, proudly showed the world a piece of Malaysia in the quintessential “Wau”-inspired dress.

And let’s not forget the gorgeous evening gowns. Besides, what would Miss Universe be without a showcase of gowns? Our personal favourite was the intricately designed red gown that Luo Zilin of China sashayed in, across the Miss Universe 2011 stage.

After the evening gown round, all votes were taken into consideration and each beauty queen fell into deep scrutiny as the judges polled their thoughts and made this year’s life-changing decision.

When asked, “If you could change one of your physical characteristics, what would it be and why?”, 25-year-old Leila Luiliana da Costa Viera Lopes from Angola replied that she was happy with the way God created her to be and that she would not change a thing.

That indeed was the winning answer. For the first time in the pageant’s 60-year history, Ms. Lopes was the first woman from Angola to be crowned Miss Universe. Coming in close was first runner-up Olesya Stefanko from Ukraine and Brazil’s Priscila Machado as second runner-up.

With that, the race to win Miss Universe 2011 came to an end. And the world welcomed their new queen.