Olivia Culpo might have once described herself as a short, chubby nerd, but the beautiful Miss Rhode Island's beauty won her the title of Miss USA 2012 on Sunday night.
Culpo, a 20-year-old cellist, beat out second runner-up Audrey Bolte of Ohio, third runner-up Jade Kelsall of Nevada and fourth runner-up Jasmyn Wilkins of Georgia, and nabbed the crown some girls could only dream of wearing.
I said this when I won, and I'll say it again, I wish that I could split it 51 ways, because everybody that I was with for the past two and a half weeks was incredible and beautiful inside and outside, said the gorgeous brunette during a press conference after her win.
What was her journey like to the crown?
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Culpo hails from Cranston, R.I., and is one of five children. Her mother is a professional musician and helped hone her own musical skills, which include the cello and the piano. Culpo has played the cello for 13 years now and spent many a summer at band camp, noting, Band camp was my summer every summer. Her talent scored her an acceptance into the musical program in the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, as well as opportunities to play at New York's famed Carnegie Hall and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
She said that growing up she was no beauty queen, describing herself as short and chubby. But she developed into a lovely young lady, both beautiful and intelligent.
Before winning the Miss USA title, Culpo completed her sophomore year at Boston University as a Communication major, where she made it onto the Dean's List every semester.
She has this very wonderful way about her that's very calming, Louis Mayhew, Culpo's academic advisor at BU, told Boston.com. Think about the stress level just being a college student can cause, and then think about what she's been doing.
Culpo had been modeling prior to entering the competition to become Miss Rhode Island 2012. Under Maggie Inc. modeling agency, the young beauty landed gigs with Karmaloop as well as the cover of Stuff @ Nite's Flirt Issue. She even clenched a role in Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis' upcoming flick, TED, out June 29, according to an interview with Take It From Me.
With modeling, acting and music under her belt, the brunette stunner decided to try her hand at pageants.
At St. Mary Academy Bay View high school, the seeds of Culpo's pageant dreams were first planted.
Growing up, I went to an all-girls school. It gave me a chance to be a role model for the younger girls, Culpo said during her Road to the Crown interview. In a lot of ways that's way really drove me to try the whole pageant world, or just to be a part of it. I wanted to feel that camaraderie again. I really want to be a role model for other people or be inspired by other girls participating in the pageant.
But, transforming herself into a pageant queen did not come overnight.
I'm still struggling with the frame of mind! Culpo told Karmaloop in May. You need to find the right balance between being yourself and being the punched up, competition version of yourself. You have to stay true to your personality instead of thinking about who you are in relation to others. Definitely don't let the competition aspect of it get to your head, otherwise you won't be yourself - you'll be comparing. Only focus on things you can control and just keep moving!
In September 2011, Culpo was crowned Miss Rhode Island and set off to compete for the title of Miss USA. That is when the real training began.
One of the most daunting portions of the Miss USA pageant is, of course, the swimsuit portion. All 51 contestants must strip down to the skimpy attire and flaunt it all in front of the nation.
I work out 3 times a week resistance training and 3 times a week doing cardio, Culpo explained. Resistance is basic lifting weights, for cardio I'll do running or Zumba. I eat small healthy meals every 2-3 hours - and stay away from liquid calories! Juice is a killer. The sugar will go straight to your butt.
She dazzled the audience during the Miss USA competition in a sexy violet bikini, proving that her hard work paid off.
Not only did she look good in a bikini, but Culpo is also quick on her feet. Miss Rhode Island received one of the toughest questions from judge Rob Kardashian on the night of the Miss USA competition: Would you feel it would be fair that a transgender woman wins the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman?
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 said, and the crowd went wild.
On Sunday night, Culpo was crowned Miss USA 2012 in Las Vegas. Finally have my phone! I can not get over this night!!! Thank you so much everyone! Shout out to all the beautiful @MissUSA contestants, she tweeted after winning.
On Monday, Culpo flew to New York City the very next day to move into her new luxury digs. She will need to take one year off school to fulfill her duties as Miss USA, which includes flying to press appearances and acting as a representative for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Once she graduates, she hopes to have a career in broadcast journalism.
On Tuesday, she made a guest appearance on Live! With Kelly to show host Kelly Ripe how to do the Miss USA walk and turn; and followed that up with an interview with The Insider. After these, the beauty visited a common NYC pit-stop, Starbucks, taking her first sip of the coffee in three weeks and toasting to her new role as Miss USA.
Olivia Culpo will represent the U.S. in the Miss Universe pageant in December.