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Miss USA Olivia Culpo is crowned Miss Universe

20-year-old new Miss Universe Olivia Culpo. (AP)
20-year-old new Miss Universe Olivia Culpo. (AP)

A 20-year-old Boston University sophomore and a self-described “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 Wednesday.

Olivia Culpo beat out 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.
Miss Universe Olivia Culpo in her wintery red velvet gown. (AP)
Miss Universe Olivia Culpo in her wintery red velvet gown. (AP)

Culpo wore a tight navy blue mini-dress with a sequined bodice as she walked on stage for the competition’s opening number. Later in the night, she strutted in a purple and blue bikini, and donned a wintery red velvet gown with a plunging neckline.

Culpo’s coronation ends a long losing spell for the U.S. in the competition co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC. 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.
Miss Universe Olivia Culpo waves her hand to the audience. (AP)
Miss Universe Olivia Culpo waves her hand to the audience. (AP)

She won over the judges, even after tripping slightly during the evening gown competition. Telecasters pointed it out but also noted her poised recovery.

Minutes before the middle child of five was crowned, she was asked whether she had she had ever done something she regretted.

“I’d like to start off by saying that every experience no matter what it is, good or bad, you’ll learn from it. That’s just life,’’ she said. “But something I’ve done I’ve regretted is probably picking on my siblings growing up, because you appreciate them so much more as you grow older.’’

Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon, came in second, while Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, placed third.

All the contestants spent the past two weeks in Sin City, where they posed in hardhats at a hotel groundbreaking, took a painting lesson, and pranked hotel guests by hiding in their rooms.

Culpo was the first Miss USA winner from Rhode Island when she took the national crown in Las Vegas in June.

She grew up in Cranston with two professional musicians for parents and has played the cello alongside world-renowned classical musician Yo-Yo Ma. On her Miss Universe page, she said she hopes to pursue a career in film or television, and cites Audrey Hepburn as a role model because of her “generosity, intelligence and grace.’’

With Culpo’s promotion, Miss Maryland Nana Meriwether becomes the new Miss USA.

The Miss Universe pageant was back in Las Vegas this year after being held in Sao Paulo in 2011. It aired live on NBC and was streamed to more than 100 countries.

Organizers had considered holding the 61st annual Miss Universe in the popular Dominican Republic tourist city of Punta Cana, but Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart said that country’s financial crisis proved to be too much of an obstacle.

Miss Universe Olivia Culpo (second from left) and four contestants. (AP)
Miss Universe Olivia Culpo (second from left) and four contestants. (AP)

The panel of 10 judges included singer Cee Lo Green, “Iron Chef’’ star Masaharu Morimoto and Pablo Sandoval of the San Francisco Giants.

Asked on the red carpet whether he found playing in the World Series or judging the beauty pageant to be more difficult, Sandoval said both were hard.

Sharply dressed women and men, including a large contingent from South America, held banners and cheered on their favorite contestants.

The pageant started as a local revue in Long Beach, California, organized by Catalina Swimwear. It is not affiliated with the Miss America pageant and unlike that contest, does not include a talent section.

Contestants in the pageant cannot have been married or have children. They must be younger than 27 and older than 18 by Feb. 1 of the competition year.

As Miss Universe, Culpo will receive an undisclosed salary, a wardrobe fit for a queen, a limitless supply of beauty products, and a luxury apartment in New York City. (AP)

<관련 한글 기사>

미스 유니버스 컬포, 환상적 매력 발산

보스턴 대학교 2학년인 올리비아 컬포(20)가 미스 유니버스 왕관을 차지하면서 10년 만에 미국인 미스 유니버스가 탄생하게 됐다.

스스로를 ‘첼로 덕후’라고 묘사한 컬포 양은 88명의 경쟁자를 물리치고 오른 수요일의 라스 베가스 최종심사에서 정상에 등극하면서, 작년 우승자인 앙골라 출신의 레일라 로페스(Leila Lopes)에 이어 올해 미스 유니버스가 됐다.

이날 컬포 양은 몸에 딱 붙는 파란색 미니드레스를 입고 무대에 등장했다. 2시간 동안 계속된 심사 동안 보라색과 파란색으로 된 비키니, 붉은색 벨벳 가운과 화려한 목걸이 등으로 치장해 아름다움을 뽐냈다.

이번 컬포 양의 미스 유니버스 등극으로 미국은 이 대회에서의 오랜 수상 가뭄을 끝내게 됐다. 지난 1997년 브룩 리 이래로 미국인이 미스 유니버스가 된 것은 이번이 처음이다.

컬포 양은 이미 예비심사에서부터 빼어난 자태를 뽐내며 16강에 올랐고, 끝내 결승심사까지 진출했다. 최종 심사는 수영복, 이브닝 웨어 심사와 인터뷰를 포함한 여러 라운드로 구성됐다.

미스 유니버스에 등극한 컬포 양은 액수가 공개되지 않은 상금과, 여왕의 자리에 맞는 의상, 무한정 제공되는 뷰티 제품과 뉴욕 시내의 럭셔리한 아파트를 상으로 받게 된다. (코리아헤럴드)