11:41 AM EDT 07/14/2015


Miss Universe Pageant

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Miss USA Olivia Culpo Wins Miss Universe

Miss USA Olivia Culpo Wins Miss Universe

Originally posted 12/20/2012 08:35AM


Olivia Culpo, the 20-year-old Miss USA and former Miss Rhode Island, won the Miss Universe pageant on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, becoming the first American to do so since 1997.

The Boston University sophomore outlasted 88 other competitors. Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon, came in second, and Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, finished third.

"What an honor! This night was a dream come true. Thank you everyone for your support tonight!! USA finally did it!" Culpo wrote on Twitter after the competition ended.

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Credit: Steve Marcus/Reuters/Landov
Miss USA 2012 Is Rhode Island's Olivia Culpo

Miss USA 2012 Is Rhode Island's Olivia Culpo

Originally posted 06/04/2012 07:30AM

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."

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Transgender Miss Universe Contestant Makes Top 12

Jenna Talackova, Transgender Miss Universe Contestant, Makes Top 12

Originally posted 05/20/2012 12:05PM

Close, but no crown.

Jenna Talackova, the first-ever transgender contestant to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant, was among the final 12 hopefuls before failing to make the cut for the top five in Saturday night's competition.

But she didn't go home empty-handed. The leggy 23-year-old Vancouver resident, who had earlier strutted her stuff in the bikini portion of the competition, was one of four contestants named Miss Congeniality.

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Credit: Alex Urosevic/iPhotoLive (2)
PHOTO: Transgender Miss Universe Contestant Shows Off Bikini Body

Transgender Miss Universe Contestant Shows Off Bikini Body

Originally posted 05/18/2012 04:10PM

Jenna Talackova has finally gotten the chance to strut her stuff.

Talackova, the first transgender Miss Universe contestant, showed off her trim figure in a white bikini during the preliminary round of the Miss Universe Canada pageant in Toronto on Thursday.

She also wore a body-hugging white floor-length gown as she confidently walked onstage during the initial rounds of the pageant competition. A winner will be announced Saturday.

Talackova was born a boy, but started hormone therapy at age 14 and later underwent gender reassignment surgery to convert her male genitalia to female.

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Miss Universe Canada Contestant Fires Back at Donald Trump | Jenna Talackova

Jenna Talackova Fires Back at Donald Trump, Pageant Officials

Originally posted 04/03/2012 03:30PM

Jenna Talackova, the Miss Universe Canada contestant who was disqualified last week from competing in the pageant because she is transgender, fired back at the pageant's organizers, including its owner, Donald Trump, at a press conference Tuesday.

First her attorney, Gloria Allred, criticized Trump's handling of the situation.

"Jenna entered this competition and gave the pageant her time, her best efforts and her money," Allred said. "She did not think for one moment that what she might have looked like at birth would be relevant. She did not ask Mr. Trump to prove that he is a naturally-born man, or to see the photos of his birth, to view his anatomy, to prove that he was male. It made no difference to her. Why should it have made a difference to him?"

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Transgender Beauty Queen Contestant 'Overwhelmed' by Support

Transgender Beauty Queen Contestant 'Overwhelmed' by Support

Originally posted 03/27/2012 12:40PM

After transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova was disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada pageant, she's built a growing online fan base hoping to reinstate her in the competition.

"Jenna is overwhelmed, and deeply moved by the support she has received from around the globe," her publicist Rory Richards tells CBC News, "especially from fellow Canadians that have said how proud they would be if she represented Canada in the Miss Universe Pageant."

Talackova, 23, shared her disappointment in a statement Monday, but says she hopes the experience will help others.

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5 Things to Know About Miss Universe Leila Lopes

5 Things to Know About Miss Universe Leila Lopes

Originally posted 09/13/2011 11:00AM

She's got the whole world in her hands. Newly crowned Miss Universe Leila Lopes of Angola touts herself as a activist whose reign will be devoted to battling AIDS and poverty.

"I've worked with various social causes. I work with poor kids, I work in the fight against HIV. I work to protect the elderly and I have to do everything that my country needs," she said at the event. "I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more."

Standing 5',10", the 25-year-old also cited her smile as being her biggest asset in Monday night's competition.

But what else is there to the new woman in the spotlight, whose good looks and charm were evident during the ceremony? Here are five facts about the pageant winner:

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Credit: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters/Landov
Angola's Leila Lopes Crowned Miss Universe

Angola's Leila Lopes Crowned Miss Universe

Originally posted 09/13/2011 07:15AM

Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, a business student from the town of Benguela, was crowned Miss Universe at Monday's 60th annual pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Crediting her smile and her ability "to motivate people" for her win, the 25-year-old vowed to help fight AIDS and poverty. She received her crown from last year's winner, Ximena Navarrete of Mexico.

In all, 89 women – who must be single and between the ages of 18 and 27 – competed for the title. The first runner-up was Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine; second runner-up, Miss Brazil Priscila Machado. The others in the Top 5 were Miss Philippines and Miss China.

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Credit: Patrick Prather/Miss Universe Organization
Who Will Be Crowned Miss Universe?

Miss Universe 2011: Who Will Win?

Originally posted 09/12/2011 03:35PM

Eighty-nine contestants from around the world will compete for the Miss Universe crown on Monday. 

Among those competing is Miss USA Alyssa Campanella, an auburn-haired beauty from California, who has been praised for her eloquence, poise and outgoing personality. While no American has been named Miss Universe since Brook Lee won the title in 1997, many are hoping Campanella will bring home the crown.

Other fan favorites include Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup, Miss Venezuela Vanessa Gonçalves and Miss Mexico Karín Ontiveros.

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Credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty
Venezuela Strikes Again at Miss Universe Pageant

Venezuela Strikes Again at Miss Universe Pageant

Originally posted 08/24/2009 08:55AM

Beauty is blossoming in South America. On Sunday, Venezuela became the first nation ever to have repeat winners in the Miss Universe pageant, as Stefania Fernandez took the 2009 title during a live televised event from the Bahamas.

The 18-year-old was crowned by her countrywoman Dayana Mendoza, who won in 2008.

The first runner-up was Miss Dominican Republic, Ada Aimee De La Cruz. Miss Kosovo, Gona Dragusha, was named second runner-up. Rounding out the top five were Miss Australia, Rachael Finch, and Miss Puerto Rico, Mayra Matos Perez.

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