A 20-year-old Boston University sophomore and a self-proclaimed ‘cellist-nerd’ brought the Miss Universe crown back to the United States for the first time in more than a decade when she won the televised contest on Wednesday.
Olivia Culpo beat 88 other beauty queens to take the title from Leila Lopes of Angola during the two-hour competition at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
An American had not won the right to be called Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997. Culpo was good enough during preliminary competitions to be chosen as one of 16 semifinalists who moved on to compete in the pageant’s finale.
Her bid lasted through swimsuit, evening wear, and interview competitions that saw cuts after each round. She won over the judges, even after tripping slightly during the evening gown competition. Telecasters pointed it out but also noted her poised recovery.
She told the Today show on Thursday that with the heels and gown she was wearing it was inevitable she tripped and was lucky not to ‘fall flat on her face’.
She also said that in her new role as Miss Universe, she would be using her ability to travel internationally to raise awareness of HIV/Aids.
Ashton Tyler | Elite.
Photo Credit: Michael Stewart/WireImage