The Miss USA 2012 Pageant Winner Is Olivia Culpo

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The 61st annual Miss USA Pageant was held Sunday night in Las Vegas, and the winner came from the smallest state – Rhode Island.

Olivia Culpo, a 20-year-old brunette beauty and sophomore at Boston University, won the crown and beat out three Latinas in the competition: Miss Colorado, Marybel Gonzalez; Miss Mississippi, Myverick Garcia; and Miss New York, Johanna Sambucini, according to NBC Latino

Gonzalez is the first person to attend college in her family, after being awarded the Daniels Fund Scholarship, a full-ride scholarship to any school in the country. Sambucini is a Cum Laude graduate of Wagner College. Garcia is a senior at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Culpo dominated the interview round, backing the Miss Universe Organization’s recent decision to admit transgender contestants. When asked whether it would be fair if a transgender woman were to win the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman, Culpo responded:

"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 will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in December. If Culpo can’t fulfill her pageant duties, Miss Maryland Nana Meriwether will fill-in for her, as she was named runner-up in the pageant.

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Samantha Leal, Deputy Editor

Sam edits and oversees all site content with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. When she's not working, you can find her watching way too many YouTube videos and reading (YA novels, mostly). Follow her on Twitter @samanthajoleal.

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