Miss Universe 2010, Mexico's Ximena Navarrete, said that the year of her reign as beauty queen has been "the happiest" time of her life, and she expressed her hopes to continue working for the programs and campaigns she has aided over the past 12 months.

"It was the happiest year of my life - I'm really going to miss all the personnel, especially those who worked directly with me," Navarrete told Efe a few hours before giving up her crown.

The Mexican beauty, who was in Sao Paulo for the Miss Universe 2011 gala on Monday night, expressed her intention to "continue working with with all the campaigns and programs" to which she has lent her image over the last year.

Navarrete handed over the Miss Universe sceptre to Angola's Leila Lopes, a 25-year-old business student who was crowned Miss Universe 2011 at Credicard Hall.

Lopes won in the final vote over first runner-up Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine followed by the Brazilian candidate, Priscila Machado, the Filipino Shamcey Supsup, and China's Luo Zilin, who in that order were chosen second, third and fourth runners-up.

The Miss Universe 2011 candidates have spent several weeks in Sao Paulo pursuing a non-stop agenda of visits to social projects, taking samba and cooking classes, attending Formula One car races at the Interlagos Circuit, and playing soccer and golf, among all their other activities.