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Updated: December 20, 2012 20:04 IST

Miss USA Olivia Culpo is crowned Miss Universe

AP
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Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, left, is crowned Miss Universe on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Photo: AP
Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, left, is crowned Miss Universe on Wednesday in Las Vegas. Photo: AP

Olivia Culpo beat out 88 other beauty queens Wednesday night to take the title from Leila Lopes of Angola in Las Vegas.

A 20-year-old college student 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.

Olivia Culpo beat out 88 other beauty queens Wednesday night to take the title from Leila Lopes of Angola in Las Vegas.

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.

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

Culpo grew up with two professional musician 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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