Lifestyle & Belief

Miss USA 2012: Rhode Island welcomes its first crown (VIDEO)


LAS VEGAS - JUNE 3: Olivia Culpo took home the crown during the 2012 Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on June 3, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Isaac Brekken

The smallest state with the largest name has finally taken home the Miss USA title. 

Olivia Culpo, 20, of Cranston, Rhode Island, became the state's first Miss USA winner in the pageant's 60-year history on Sunday. 

Many believe Culpo won the titled based off of the question/answer portion of the pageant. She was asked: "Would you feel it would be fair that a transgender woman wins the Miss USA title over a natural-born woman?" 

Culpo ultimately agreed with the Miss Universe Organization, which recently made the decision to admit transgender contestants into all of the pageants.

Jenna Talackova became the first-ever transgender contestant to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant. She made it to the penultimate round before losing her bid to win the title last month.

More from GlobalPost: Jenna Talackova, transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant, misses out

According to the Associated Press, Talackova was initially denied entry to Canada's pageant because she was not born female. Donald Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization, subsequently overruled that decision.

Culpo confidently replied to the transgender question saying, "I do think that that would be fair, but I can understand that people would be a little apprehensive to take that road because there is a tradition of natural-born women, but today where there are so many surgeries and so many people out there who have a need to change for a happier life, I do accept that because I believe it's a free country."

Culpo told the Associated Press that she wasn't always a beauty queen. She says she was short and chubby as a girl, but blossomed after a growth spurt.

Cuplo spent her summers at band camp after learning to play the cello in second grade. 

The judge's panel included Chef Cat Cora, TV personality Arsenio Hall, singer Joe Jonas and reality TV star Rob Kardashian, according to, with Andy Cohen and Giuliana Rancic as hosts. 

Culpo's win can be seen in this video by NBC: