The Miss Universe 2015 Pageant took place in Miami on Jan. 25, with Miss Colombia, Paulina Vega, taking home the title. She beat out Miss USA Nia Sanchez and other competitors from over 80 countries. Among the top five also included Miss Ukraine, Miss Jamaica and Miss Netherlands. As the world celebrates, take a look at five talented women of color who have graced the stage and worn the crown:
1) Leila Lopes
Place of origin: Angola
On Sept. 12, 2011 in Brazil, she was crowned Miss Universe, and became the 60th titleholder and the first Angolan woman to seize the title. Prior to her outstanding achievement and victory, another Black woman hadn’t won in 12 years.
2) Mpule Kwelagobe
Place of origin: Botswana
Mpule Kwelagobe was crowned Miss Universe in May 1999. Upon receiving the crown, she has been recognized for her actions in human health rights, and she remains involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
3) Wendy Fitzwilliam
Place of origin: Trinidad and Tobago
Wendy became the second Miss Universe originating from Trinidad and Tobago in 1998. She founded the Hibiscus Foundation in Trinidad & Tobago to raise responsiveness in the area.
4) Chelsi Smith
Place of origin: California, United States of America.
In 1995, she was crowned Miss USA and won Miss Universe the same year. She was the highest placed competitor after the preliminary competition, and she still remains the uppermost placed contestant to ever compete.
5) Janelle Commissiong
Place of origin: Trindad and Tobago
Janelle was crowned Miss Universe in 1976. She was the first Black woman to ever win the Miss Universe award in the history of the pageant, which gained international attention and seized media headlines, encouraging diversity in the competition.