New Miss USA cites Audrey Hepburn as role model
Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo waves to the audience after being crowned Miss USA during the 2012 Miss USA pageant, Sunday, June 3, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The newest Miss USA winner is a Rhode Island cellist who describes herself as a nerd and aspires to be more like Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn.
Olivia Culpo shares Hepburn's European heritage and dark brown hair and soon they will share something else. Culpo said after winning her crown Sunday night that she plans to go to Tiffany & Co. in New York and recreate Hepburn's iconic opening scene from "Breakfast at Tiffany's."
Culpo, a Boston University sophomore, will take a year off from her studies to tackle her duties as Miss USA and represent the nation in the 61st Miss Universe contest in December. The 20-year-old said she wished she could have shared her crown with her 50 competitors during the pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo takes part in the swimsuit competition during the 2012 Miss USA pageant, Sunday, June 3, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Culpo strutted across the stage in a lilac bikini, then donned a flowing fuchsia gown with sparkly trim around her waist and décolletage. After making it to the final five, Culpo voiced her support for transgender beauty queens during the make-or-break interview round.
"Would you feel it would be fair that a transgender woman wins the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman?" asked celebrity judge Rob Kardashian. The question came from a pageant follower on Twitter, a first for the competition.
Culpo didn't hesitate before embracing the Miss Universe Organization's recent decision to admit transgender contestants.
"I do think that that would be fair, but I can understand that people would be a little apprehensive to take that road because there is a tradition of natural-born women, but today where there are so many surgeries and so many people out there who have a need to change for a happier life, I do accept that because I believe it's a free country," Culpo said.