Watch: 21-Year-Old California Model Wins Miss USA Beauty Pageant

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Alyssa Campanella is the newly crowned 2011 Miss USA. And she’s just as tan and shiny as you expected her to be.

Wearing an aquamarine trumpet-style Sherri Hill gown, Campanella, repping the Golden State as Miss California, trembled with excitement as Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih placed the nation’s highest tiara on her head. The auburn-haired New Jersey native beat out 50 other state beauties (which included a D.C. contestant) on Sunday at the 60th Miss USA competition in Las Vegas.

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The former Miss Teen USA runner-up is a model living in Los Angeles, and has been competing in pageants since age 15. She is a natural blonde, but dyed her tresses red six years ago. “I really enjoy being a redhead,” she told the Associated Press.

The pageant’s three competitions included swimsuit, evening gown and interview question. Campanella, a self-proclaimed “history geek” and Star Wars fan, wowed judges in an emerald gown and itty-bitty polka dot bikini. For her interview question, she was asked if she believed in the legalization of marijuana—an understandable choice given the drug’s years-long role in polarizing Campanella’s state.

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The beauty queen’s careful but jumbled answer was: “Medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically. I’m not sure if it should be legalized … 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 okay.”

Campanella will represent the country at the Miss Universe competition on Sept. 12 in Sao Paolo, Brazil. After the pageant, she shared on Twitter that she was in bed, watching Miss Congeniality on TBS: “Like you really thought I’d be getting sleep tonight.”

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