US contestant crowned Miss Universe 2012


01:00 PM December 20th, 2012

December 20th, 2012 01:00 PM

Miss USA, Olivia Culpo (L) reacts after being named Miss Universe 2012 beside last year’s winner Leila Lopes of Angola (R) during the Miss Universe Pageant at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 19, 2012. AFP

LAS VEGAS, Nevada — American Olivia Culpo was crowned Miss Universe 2012 late Wednesday, beating out beauties from around the world to claim the coveted title.

The title of first runner-up went to the contestant from the Philippines, Janine Tugonon.

Last year’s winner Leila Lopes of Angola, crowned jubilant Culpo, 20 years old, to succeed her in a year-long reign.

It is the first win for an American woman since 1997, when the title was won by Brook Lee.

Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, placed third in the contest. Fourth place went to Miss Australia Renae Ayris, and fifth to Miss Brazil, Gabriela Markus.

The title Miss Congeniality was given to Miss Guatemala Laura Godoy by the contestants.

Miss Brazil, Gabriela Markus (L); Miss USA, Olivia Culpo (2nd-L); Miss Australia, Renae Ayris (C); Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon (2nd-R); and Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero (R) stand on stage during the 2012 Miss Universe Pageant at Planet Holywood in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 19, 2012. Eighty-nine countries and territories are participating in this year’s pageant. AFP / JOE KLAMAR

The pageant, which purports to pick the world’s most beautiful woman, was held this year in Las Vegas, and saw 89 contestants compete in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview.

It marked the 61st edition of the pageant, held last year in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and which is co-sponsored by US television network NBC and American real estate mogul Donald Trump.

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