A 20-year-old beauty queen who plays the cello and is a breast cancer advocate was crowned Miss Universe on Wednesday, the eighth time an American has won the pageant where the world’s most beautiful women parade in bikinis and ball gowns.
Olivia Culpo, 20, a brunette from Rhode Island, was chosen by a 10-judge panel from 89 contestants representing countries ranging from India to Kosovo and Britain.
Culpo, wearing a red, long-sleeved dress for her final look, was the eighth winner from the United States in the contest’s 60-year history, and the first Miss USA to take the title since 1997.
Miss Philippines, 23-year-old Janine Tugonon, was the runner-up and Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, came third after the top five answered brief questions posed by the judges.
Culpo takes the place of last year’s winner Leila Lopes, who was the first ever Miss Universe from Angola.
India’s 12-year-long dry run at the Miss Universe continued with Shilpa Singh losing out in the finals of the 2012 beauty pageant.
The 23-year-old Bihar-born girl entered the top 16 of the Miss Universe competition being held at Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip, but failed to enter the top 10 slot.