Miss USA Olivia Culpo Crowned Miss Universe 2012

For the first time in 15 years, Miss USA has to vacate her crown… to become Miss Universe.

20 year-old Olivia Culpo of Cranston, RI won the 61st Miss Universe pageant during a live, televised broadcast from the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday night. The middle child of five won’t be moving out of her apartment, much less the city she now calls home, for the next year.

“It’s just a really interesting city,” Culpo told me last month when she visited “The Ralphie Show” on 95.5 PLJ in New York. “I love the culture; I love the different people who come together. It’s just like a giant melting pot of cultures.”

The former Boston University student also joked that New York’s operating hours go hand-in-hand with her nonstop schedule.

“I love it here. Nothing ever closes,” she said. “That’s great for people who don’t sleep like me.”

Matter of fact, Culpo noted that her responsibilities as Miss USA actually put her at a disadvantage against other countries.

“You’d be surprised; for ‘Universe’ there’s such less time to prepare because I have my duties as Miss USA, which are my dedications to philanthropy and other things like that,” Culpo said. “And then on top of that, I have to prepare myself for Miss Universe.”

But in the end, it all worked out for the first-time pageant contestant – Culpo had never attempted to win a crown prior to winning Miss Rhode Island USA at the end of 2011. The Ocean State native won out over 88 other contestants from across the globe in a NBC telecast hosted by Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic. Cee Lo Green, Nigel Barker, and Scott Disick served on the celebrity-filled panel of judges.

And as for that vacated crown – Miss Maryland Nana Meriwether, who placed first-runner up in Miss USA, will assume the title and its responsibilities.

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