Miss Rhode Island, 20-year-old Olivia Culpo, was named the winner of the 2012 Miss USA pageant on Sunday, beating out 51 other contestants who competed at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Culpo was crowned by Miss USA 20122 Alyssa Campanella from California and will represent the U.S. in the Miss Universe 61st annual pageant this year.

Contestants in the Donald Trump-owned 2012 Miss USA pageant competed in the swimsuit, evening gown and interview sections, where Culpo wore a purple bikini and a purple belted evening gown. Hosted by Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic, the panel of judges included chef Cat Cora, TV personality Arsenio Hall, singer Joe Jonas and reality star Rob Kardashian with performances by Akon and Cobra Starship.

During a question and answer session, Kardashian asked Culpo her feelings about transgender contestants, to which she answered she believes it would be fair for a transgender contestant to be named Miss Universe in light of the controversy earlier this year when Jenna Talackova, a contestant in the Miss Canada competition, was disqualified for being born a man.

Would it be fair if a transgender woman won the Miss USA title? Kardashian asked.

I do think it would be fair ... Culpo said. She said she would be in favor because there are so many people who have a need to change for a happier life. I do accept that because I believe it's a free country.

Her answer was received with a heavy applause by the audience.

The top 10 finalists were: Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, Texas, Rhode Island, Nevada, Maryland and Georgia. Miss Iowa Rebecca Hodge was awarded Miss Congeniality while Miss Oregon Alaina Bergsman was awarded Miss Photogenic.

According to her bio on the Miss USA website, 20-year-old Olivia Culpo is a sophomore at Boston University and has made the Dean's List every semester. Culpo, whose parents are musicians, has been playing the cello since elementary school. Culpo admitted that when she was young, she was short and chubby, and spent summers at band camp for the cello.

View the slideshow to see photos of Miss USA Olivia Culpo and other contestants.