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Olivia Culpo has been crowned Miss Universe 2012!

The reigning Miss USA won the world title Wednesday in Las Vegas, fending off challenges from 88 other gorgeous women from around the world.

“I’m dreaming, it’s a dream,” she said.

Olivia Culpo on Instagram

She is the first Miss USA to win Miss Universe since 1997.

Olivia Culpo succeeded 2011’s winner, Leila Lopes of Angola, after strutting in a purple and blue bikini and a red velvet gown with a plunging neckline.


As always, it was up in the air until the end.

During the final question, Miss Universe 2010, Ximena Navarrete, asked Olivia, “What is something that you have done, that you will never do again?”

How does one respond to that land mine?

“First I’d like to start off by saying that every experience, no matter what it is, good or bad, you’ll learn from it. That’s just life,” she said, deftly.

“But something I’ve done that I’ve probably regretted would be picking on my siblings growing up because you appreciate them so much more when you’re older.”

“Everybody fights with their siblings, right?! But I don’t regret it.”

And the rest, as they say, is history. Those once picked-on siblings – and rumored boyfriend Ryan Lochte – are no doubt proud of Olivia right now.

“One thing I feel people don’t know about me is that I’m really easy-going,” she said.

“Any joke, I’ll get it. I mean, I think a lot of the times they think of beauty queens as almost being plastic, but I can take jokes and I can take anything.”

“I’m just a normal person.”

Hardly. Congrats!