Miss USA Olivia Culpo was all smiles as she was crowned the 2012 Miss Universe at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 20 year old beauty queen from Rhode Island looked elegant in a red gown as she received the crown from Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes of Angola.

Culpo was born in 1992 and her musician parents Susan and Peter taught her to play cello from the second grade. She currently studies at Boston University and has aspirations to be in film and television. She had previously admitted her icon was Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn.

Culpo becomes the first American to take the title since 1997 and for the next year, she will travel the world representing the Miss Universe Organisation and a charity of her choice. She was previously crowned the 2012 Miss Rhode Island USA in September, which was her first ever pageant.

"There's no time to pinch myself. ...There's no time to get enough sleep. It's crazy but so fun because it's going to be over," she said in an interview, ahead of the contest.

When asked what she wants people to know about pageant life, she said, "It's more than just physical appearance. It's about confidence and work ethic and being open to others. People think it's narcissistic, that it's just about appearance."

"For Miss USA, I felt more pressure to be lean," she added, "Here, they're bigger and taller. The look of Miss Universe is more voluptuous."

After the event, Culpo told reporters she hoped to bring the country some good news a midst the tragic shooting in Connecticut.

"It's such an honor to be representing the USA in an international beauty contest in spite of all the tragedy that's happened in this country lately," she said, "I really hope that this this will raise everybody's spirits a little."

In the past weeks, 89 participants from six continents competed in the evening gown round, the swimsuit competition, the national costume competition and the National Gift Auction in Sin City.

Take a look at the stunning pictures of Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo...