Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo, is crowned Miss USA 2012
Suddenly band camp got a lot more glamorous! A 20-year-old Cranston, Rhode Island native – who talked about her love of the cello and spending her summers at band camp – was the winner of Sunday's 61st Annual Miss USA Pageant.
Olivia Culpo, a student at Boston University where she's a regular on the Dean's List, beat out 50 other hopefuls in the beauty contest, during which she worked the stage at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas wearing a pink bikini and purple Grecian style evening gown. The brunette talked about the influence music has had in her life – she played the cello for 13 years, noting, "Band camp was my summer every summer." Other information given out about her during the pageant? She was "short and chubby" growing until she hit a growth spurt. She is also passionate about "quoting celebrities" and shared her favorite saying by Audrey Hepburn.
When it came time to answering the final question of the evening, she had the most serious in the bunch: Would it be fair if a transgender woman won the Miss Universe title? She agreed with the organization's recent decision to include transgender contestants. "I do think that would be fair, but I could understand how people could be apprehensive to take that road," she said. However, "there are so many people who have a need to change for a happier life. I do accept that because I believe it's a free country." The crowd liked her response, cheering wildly.
Bravo's Andy Cohen and E!'s Giuliana Rancic hosted the show, which aired on NBC. The judge's panel included Arsenio Hall, Joe Jonas, and Rob Kardashian, who made a dig at the contestants saying they wore too much makeup and their hair was too big. Kelly Osbourne was a roving reporter. Akon and Cobra Starship performed. Of course Donald Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe Organization with NBC, was front and center as well.
Culpo will compete in the Miss Universe pageant in December.