Californian wins Miss USA crown

Alyssa Campanella, Miss California, is crowned as the 2011 Miss USA by Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih, Sunday, June 19, 2011, in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Alyssa Campanella, Miss California, is crowned as the 2011 Miss USA by Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih, Sunday, June 19, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) Photo by The Associated Press.

America’s latest Miss USA winner is a California model and self-described history geek, obsessed with Britain’s monarchy of centuries past but also a fan of “Star Wars.”

Alyssa Campanella of Los Angeles says on Twitter that she was born in the wrong time period and played the popular pig-exploding game Angry Birds backstage on her iPad before the pageant Sunday night.

She hopes to keep modeling after her run as Miss USA is finished, depending on how she does representing the country at Miss Universe in September in Brazil.

The celebrity she’d most like to meet, now that she’s one herself? Pastry chef Buddy Valastro of TLC reality show Cake Boss.

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Hope Driskill, Miss Missouri, is introduced as one of the quarterfinals at the start of the Miss USA pageant, Sunday, June 19, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

“I love to bake cakes, and he’s an Italian, and he acts like I do in the kitchen,” the 21-year-old said after beating 50 other hopefuls in Miss USA’s 60th pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

“Right now, I’m still kind of like — whoa,” Campanella said.

She strutted across the stage in a blue bikini with white polka dots, then donned a dark turquoise Sherri Hill evening gown with beading on its top. After making the final four, she answered a question about legalizing marijuana by saying she didn’t think it should be fully legalized as a solution to help ailing economies.

She also professed a love for history after E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic asked her about it during the pageant.

“I’m obsessed with the Stuart and Tudor era,” Campanella said. “Whenever I go to Barnes & Noble I’m always in the history section and that is where you will find me.”

“I watch ‘Game of Thrones,’ I watched ‘Camelot’ — I know those are fantasy but I also watch the Tudors, so I’m a huge history geek,” she said.

She said she grew up watching “Star Wars.”

Campanella said during a news conference after the pageant that the win validated her decision to quickly move to Los Angeles from New Jersey after losing an apartment more than a year ago.

Miss Tennessee Ashley Durham was the first runner-up, while contestants from Alabama and Texas placed third and fourth.

Campanella, a natural blonde, said she dyed her hair six years ago for a part in a play, for a “fiery” character with whom she found she had traits in common.

“It’s really brought out the true Alyssa Campanella, I feel, and that’s why I really enjoy being a redhead,” she said.

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