Olivia Culpo, woman with Berkshire ties, wins Miss Universe


Destiny Culpo of Pittsfield was glued to a loud television on Wednesday night as she watched her cousin, Olivia Culpo, win the Miss Universe crown.

"We're so happy for her," Destiny Culpo told The Eagle, the television still blaring in the background.

Although Olivia Culpo, 20, lives in Rhode Island, she and her family would regularly flock to the Berkshires to visit her cousins during her childhood summers and holidays.

Her father, Peter, graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1974, and is now a businessman in Rhode Island. Her mother, Susan, was an accomplished violin player that performed at Tanglewood with Boston Pops and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Olivia Culpo, 20, was the first American to win Miss Universe since 1997. She took the crown from Leila Lopes of Angola after strutting in a purple and blue bikini and a red velvet gown. In the final stages of the competition, she answered a question about her regrets by saying she wished she hadn't picked on her siblings.

The relatives who couldn't make it to the pageant in Las Vegas watched from the home of Madeline Culpo, Olivia's grandmother. The Culpo cousins grew up together, said Destiny Culpo, who is 21.

"We're all like, ‘Oh my god, is this real?' " she said. "I guess she's not coming back to grandma's house for a while."

Miss Philippines, Janine Tugonon, came in second, while Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, placed third.

Contestants from 89 countries on six continents spent the past two weeks in Sin City, where they posed in hardhats at a hotel groundbreaking, took a painting lesson, and pranked hotel guests by hiding in their rooms.

The beauty queens took the stage in tight, pleated mini-dresses with glittering sequin bodices and sky high platform shoes, strutting to the hit "Live While We're Young," by English-Irish boy band One Direction.

Later in the two-hour show, they walked on stage decked with white Christmas trees and snow flurry effects, throwing off gauzy white wraps to show off tie-dye bikinis in purples, pinks and blues.

The contestants voted to give the Miss Congeniality crown to Miss Guatemala.

The pageant was streamed to more than 100 countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

To reach Adam Poulisse: (413) 496-6214, or apoulisse@berkshire eagle.com. On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse


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