Miss USA 2012 Winner is Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo (Photo)
Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island was crowned Miss USA 2012 besting 50 other contestants in the 61st annual beauty pageant finale held at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. She will represent the United States in the upcoming Miss Universe 2012 pageant this December, with location yet to be announced.
As seen on NBC on Sunday night, June 3, 2012, which was hosted by Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic, the pageant had three competitions: swimsuit, evening gowns and interview question.
Miss Culpo strutted across the stage in a purple bikini during the swimsuit competition and a purple evening gown with sparkly belt during the evening gowns competition.
In the interview question, Miss Culpo was asked with the most difficult question that night: “Would it be fair for a person born a man to be named Miss Universe after becoming a woman?”
Miss Rhode Island never stumbled as she embraced the Miss Universe Organization’s recent decision to admit transgender contestants. She explained why it would be fair if a transgender woman, just like Canada’s controversial Jenna Talackova, win the title.
“I do think that would be fair, but I can understand that people would be a little apprehensive to take that road,” Culpo answered. She then added that there are “so many people out there who have a need to change for a happier life. I do accept that because I believe it is a free country.”
Olivia Culpo is a 20-year-old cellist from Rhode Island who had just completed her sophomore year at Boston University. Despite her busy schedule for the pageant, she reportedly didn’t slack on her studies based from the feedbacks of people who knew her at school.
“She has this very wonderful way about her that’s very calming. Think about the stress level just being a college student can cause, and then think about what she’s been doing,” says Louis Mayhew, Culpo’s academic advisor at Boston University.
Miss Maryland was the runner-up while contestants from Nevada, Ohio and Georgia completed the top five finalists. Miss Iowa USA Rebecca Hodge was named Miss Congeniality, and Miss Oregon USA Alaina Bergsma was named the Most Photogenic. They both won $1,000.
The judge’s panel included Chef Cat Cora, TV personality Arsenio Hall and singer Joe Jonas. Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella of California crowned Culpo her successor at the end of the night.