The event, broadcast live from the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas, saw Culpo take over the title of Miss Universe from 2011's champion, Leila Lopes of Angola, according to Fox News.
Culpo is the first Miss Universe from the United States since 1997, when beauty queen Brook Lee was given the title. The Rhode Island native set a personal goal to become the first American Miss Universe in 15 years, and she succeeded.
One of the most memorable moments from Culpo’s time in the Miss Universe pageant was during the question and answer section, where she told the audience that one of her biggest regrets was picking on her siblings during childhood. The candid response earned her plenty of sympathy and respect from both the audience and the judges.
Culpo, 20, has been busy traveling the country since she was named Miss USA in June and working out extensively to prepare for the Miss Universe competition.
"For Miss USA, I felt more pressure to be lean," Culpo told the Boston Herald. "Here, they’re bigger and taller. The look of Miss Universe is more voluptuous.”
Culpo said she does a lot of "cardio, jump rope, etc." She also said she eats "a lot," but healthy foods like "proteins, whole wheat and oatmeal."
"Nothing fried, no chocolate, no peanut butter," she said, but admitted she is dying for Christmas tree-shaped Reeses after the competition.
The Rhode Islander put her studies at Boston University on hold to carry out her responsibilities as Miss USA, which included extensive work with the Cure 4 the Kids Foundation. At BU, Culpo was a sophomore honors student and a cellist, according to her bio page.
In addition to Culpo being crowned Miss Universe, the contestants named Miss Guatemala as Miss Congeniality in this year’s pageant.
The Miss Universe 2012 pageant was broadcast live on NBC and livestreamed in more than 100 countries.