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Miss California wins Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas

June 19, 2011 |  9:36 pm

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Miss California, a New Jersey-born model and aspiring actress living in Los Angeles, won the Miss USA pageant on Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Alyssa Campanella 21, beat out a field of 50 other beauty queens and now will go on to represent the U.S. in the Miss Universe contest.  The striking redhead did more than parade on stage in a bikini and evening gown. She also apparently won high marks from the judges for her answer to a question about the legalization of marijuana, saying the plant should not be legalized for general consumption but should be kept available for medicinal use, according to the Associated Press.

Photos: Miss California wins the 60th Miss USA pageant

Though she represented California in the contest, Campanella appears to still think of herself as an East Coaster. “Born and raised in the Garden State, Alyssa Campanella is not your typical Jersey girl, but New Jersey is where she calls home,” reads the welcome page on her website.

The woman representing Tennessee was the first runner-up.

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-- Joel Rubin

Photo: Alyssa Campanella, Miss California, is crowned as the 2011 Miss USA by Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih in Las Vegas. Credit: Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

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