Redhead for the Win! Miss California Alyssa Campanella won the 2011 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas on Sunday night, edging out a bevy of 51 other beauties for a competition spot in the Miss Universe pageant in Brazil this fall.
The self-assessed “History Geek,” 21, took home the bejeweled crown at this year’s event, hosted by Bravo’s Andy Cohen and E! personality Giuliana Rancic,at Sin City’s Planet Hollywood Casino Resort. She was crowned by incumbent Miss USA, Rima Fakih, a Lebanese-born Muslim who was the first Arab-American to hold the title.
Campanella — who wowed the judges as she trumped across stage in a turquoise gown and polka dot bikini — won the competition despite giving a muddled answer during the Q&A portion of the competition, when a judge asked her whether marijuana should be legalized in her home state. Alyssa replied that marijuana for medical purposes was “very important.”
“I understand why that question would be asked, especially with today’s economy, but I also understand that medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically,” Campanella replied. “I’m not sure if it should be legalized, if it would really affect, with the drug war. I mean, it’s abused today, unfortunately, so that’s the only reason why I would kind of be a little bit against it, but medically it’s OK.”
Miss Tennessee came in second, Miss Alabama was third, and Miss Texas finished fourth.
Campanella will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in Sao Paulo, scheduled for Sept. 12.