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Miss Texas Crowned Miss USA

In this photo provided by Miss Universe, Crystle Stewart is crowned Miss USA 2008 at the conclusion of the telecast from the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Theatre for the Performing Arts, in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, April 11, 2008. Stewart, of Missouri City, Tex., runs what she called a party planning and motivation speaking company and also models professionally. She says she wants to dedicate her life to international philanthropy.
AP/Miss Universe LP, Darren Decker
A 26-year-old entrepreneur from Texas was named Miss USA on Friday, besting 50 other beauty queens for the coveted crown.

Crystle Stewart, of Missouri City, Texas, runs a party-planning and motivational speaking company, as well as modeling professionally. She says she wants to dedicate her life to international philanthropy.

Stewart edged out first runner-up Leah Laviano of Mississippi and Tiffany Andrade of New Jersey in a show aired live by NBC with hosts Donny and Marie Osmond from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The network co-owns the parent Miss Universe Organization with Donald Trump.


Photos: Miss USA On The Way
Stewart will compete in the Miss Universe pageant in Vietnam in July.

Miss USA contestants are scored in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. Miss Alaska USA, Courtney Erin Carroll, was chosen "Miss Photogenic USA" based on voting at the organization's Web site. The other contestants named Miss Ohio USA, Monica Day, "Miss Congeniality." Unlike the rival Miss America, Miss USA contestants are not asked to perform a talent.

The panel of judges for Friday's pageant included Heather Mills, model and former wife of Paul McCartney; comedian Rob Schneider; Olympic gold-medal swimmer Amanda Beard; and Christian Siriano, winner of Bravo's fashion reality series, "Project Runway."
By Kathleen Hennessey