The Miss Universe Organization is investigating claims that Lopes falsified documents during the Miss Angola UK pageant earlier this year. The English competition, which she won, helped Lopes reach the Miss Universe pageant in Brazil this month.
Argentine newspaper Infobae alleged that Lopes, with help from a man named Charles Mukano, participated in the Miss Angola UK pageant despite the fact that she lived in Angola, and not the United Kingdom, which is a violation of the rules. Mukano is also said to have helped Lopes obtain documents claiming she was a business management student at an English university.
The report goes as far as to say that Lopes might have bribed British judges to ensure a win.
Could a coup d'monde be in the future?
Olesia Stefanko, Miss Ukraine and the pageant's runner-up, certainly hopes so. The Miss Universe crown is generally a stable one, especially compared to the Miss America title, which is subject to nearly as many head-of-state changes as the emperors of Rome, but Lopes could be disqualified and banished from the universal kingdom if the allegations prove to be true.
Although not as shadowy or opprobrious as the linea regis of England, there have been a number of Miss Universe titleholders that met strange ends.
In the contest's 60-year history, only one Miss Universe officially failed to sit through a whole one-year term. That was Oxana Fedorova, a Miss Russia who won the show in Puerto Rico in 2002. There is no authoritative reason why Fedorova left half-way into her year as Miss Universe, except a vague notion that she didn't perform the duties expected of her. There were rumors at the time that Fedorova was secretly pregnant, and Federova has herself said that she quit because she was forced to go on the Howard Stern Show.
Whatever the real reason, the Miss Universe Organization refuses to recognize Fedorova as a former winner.
Miss Universe 1974, Amparo Muñoz from Spain, also gave up her crown before her term expired, and Miss Universe 1952, Armi Kuusela of Finland, gave up the title to get married.
If Lopes does lose the title, it will be a great emotional cost to Angola. The African nation was immensely proud of its beauty queen, evoking respect of the country's top diplomats.
“There is a great engagement of assuring an advance with regard of the development, progress and well-being of the Angolan people,” said Angola's Media Minister, Carolina Cerqueira.
Cerqueira said that the Miss Universe prize showed the beauty and potential of all Angolans to overcome the obstacles in their lives.
The Angolan First Lady, Ana Paula dos Santos, was especially proud of Lopes.
Leila is really our queen and all Angolan women feel like Miss Universe as it is a very great honor for us to be there, with a competition with more than 80 girls and countries, with different habits, customs and religions, and they chose Angola, winning the crown of Miss Universe, said dos Santos.