Miss USA Olivia Culpo was crowned Miss Universe 2012 in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. Her victory was the culmination of a year and a half long journey that began when the former Boston University student entered the Miss Rhode Island competition. She won that title last October, went on to win the Miss USA pageant in June, and beat out 88 other contestants to earn her new title six months later, on December 19th.
Culpo says she was inspired by media personalities who had a pageant past, like Giuliana Rancic (who tried for Miss Maryland USA twice) and Maria Menuonos (who was Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, and came in first runner up for Miss Massachusetts USA). It was just an extra bonus for the 20 year old that Rancic co-hosted the Miss Universe pageant last night; she told Us Weekly, “I’ve been close to Giuliana… I love her so much.”‘
Those who have grown accustomed to hearing Culpo advocate for breast and ovarian cancer awareness should expect to see her pick up a new cause soon. As Miss Universe, she’ll be campaigning for HIV and AIDS awareness.
Culpo’s win marks the first time the U.S. has taken home the Miss Universe crown since 1997.
More pictures of Olivia Culpo after the jump.
Photos: Judy Eddy/WENN.com
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