updated 06/04/2012 AT 6:00 AM ET
•originally published 06/04/2012 AT 7:30 AM ET
The biggest star of the 61st annual Miss USA Pageant hails from the smallest state in the nation.
Olivia Culpo, a bubbly brunette beauty from Rhode Island, bested 50 other women to win Sunday night’s 2012 Miss USA Pageant in Las Vegas.
Culpo, 20, of Cranston, dazzled judges with her poise and looks and didn’t miss a beat (after a deep breath) when thrown a tough question via Twitter about whether someone who is transgender should be allowed to participate in pageants.
“I do think it would be fair, but I understand if people could be apprehensive,” she said. “I do accept that because I believe it’s a free country.”