Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo waves to the audience after being crowned Miss USA during the 2012 Miss USA pageant, Sunday, June 3, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:24AM
LAS VEGAS — A 20-year-old cellist from Rhode Island won the Miss USA crown and will represent the United States in this year’s Miss Universe pageant.
Olivia Culpo topped a field of 51 beauty queens on Sunday to take the title at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. She strutted across the stage in a purple bikini and a purple evening gown with sparkly belt.
She answered a question about transgender contestants by saying it would be fair for a man who became a woman to be named Miss Universe.
The pageant had three competitions: swimsuit, evening gowns and interview question. Midway through the contest, pop band Cobra Starship performed as the beauty queens modeled their string bikinis.
Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella from California crowned Culpo her successor at the end of the night.