5 Reasons It’s Cool To Like Miss Universe Olivia Culpo

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Rhode Islander Olivia Culpo named Miss Universe 2012

Naturally, we have all sorts of reservations about embracing the Miss Universe pageant and all it represents — Donald Trump runs it, it sets a bad example for little girls about beauty mattering more than brains, and all that stuff. But today we’re putting those aside, because we really feel OK embracing the newly crowned Olivia Culpo, who came up from the ranks of Miss Rhode Island and Miss USA, actually seems like a pretty cool girl … in addition to being drop-dead gorgeous in a bikini and an evening gown, of course, and maybe possibly winning the heart of one Mr. Ryan Lochte. Here’s our logic:

1) She’s the first Miss USA to earn the title since 1997 and the first Miss Rhode Island to win it ever. We think New England deserves some good news this week.

2) She’s a music geek. She’s played the cello since age 6, performed at Carnegie Hall with a youth orchestra at age 12, and went to the same music camp (Brevard, in North Carolina) as some of our own friends. Watch her play a bit here.

3) Miss Rhode Island was the Boston University student’s first-ever pageant, and she entered it wearing a dress she rented for $20 on Rent the Runway.

4) She’s not fancy. She told Shape that her biggest craving during the Miss USA contest was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

5) She believes transgender women deserve to compete in the contest too. “I feel like in America, we all have the right to be happy and the right to live freely, so that’s how I stand on it,” she told BU Today. “It all goes back to the foundation of this country and freedom of choice.”

So, congrats, girl! We fully encourage you to celebrate your victory with a certain Olympic gold medalist soon — just ’cause we’d love to see those photos.