Olivia Culpo, a 20 year old student of Boston College, took home the crown on Sunday night for the 61st Annual Miss USA Pageant. The former Ms. Rhode Island did well throughout the competition, but her final answer sealed her fate.
When it came time to answering the final question of the evening, she had the most serious in the bunch: Would it be fair if a transgender woman won the Miss Universe title? She agreed with the organization’s recent decision to include transgender contestants. “I do think that would be fair, but I could understand how people could be apprehensive to take that road,” she said. However, “there are so many people who have a need to change for a happier life. I do accept that because I believe it’s a free country.” The crowd liked her response, cheering wildly.
Bravo’s Andy Cohen and E!’s Giuliana Rancic hosted the show, which aired on NBC. The judge’s panel included Arsenio Hall, Joe Jonas, and Rob Kardashian. Kelly Osbourne was a roving reporter. Akon and Cobra Starship performed. Donald Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe Organization with NBC, was front and center as well.