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The winner of Miss USA 2011 is…

Miss California Alyssa Campanella was crowned Miss USA 2011 yesterday at Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas. Get the scoop on the redhead beauty that will be representing us at the Miss Universe pageant on September 12th in Brazil.

Miss USA

Alyssa Campanella, 21, made quite the impression on the five celebrity judges and went from being Miss California — to Miss USA 2011! Last year’s winner of Miss USA, Miss Michigan Rima Fakih, tearfully passed on the crown to the new winner.

The five judges, including Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Caroline Manzo, the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler, actress Mariel Hemingway, rapper Lil Jon and celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito, had three competitions in which to pick the new Miss USA — swimsuit, evening gown and interview questions.

How did the new Miss USA handle the tough interview questions? Judge Manzo tried to stump her by asking her what her stance was on legalizing marijuana, which has been legal for medical purposes in her state of California for 15 years.

“Well, I understand why that question would be asked, especially with today’s economy, but I also Miss USA 2011 swimsuit photo Alyssaunderstand that medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically,” Alyssa answered.

“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.”

Alyssa also shared something else with the crowd: She is actually a natural blonde! She said she dyed her hair for a “fiery” character — and decided to keep it. “It’s really brought out the true Alyssa Campanella, I feel, and that’s why I really enjoy being a redhead,” she said.

Alyssa beat out second place Miss Tennessee Ashley Durham, third place Miss Alabama Madeline Mitchell and fourth place Miss Texas Ana Christina Rodriquez. Miss Kentucky Kia Ben-et Hampton won Miss Congeniality and Miss Arizona Brittany Dawn Brannon won Miss Photogenic.

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