Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2013

Miss USA 2013: Miss Connecticut, Erin Brady, wins the title

Erin Brady, Miss Connecticut USA, has won Miss USA 2013. Miss New Jersey USA, Libell Duran, did not make the final.

Her “special talent” is cooking. She loves to bowl. And now, she’s trending on Twitter.

Miss USA 2013 is Miss Connecticut.

Erin Brady, 25, is from East Hampton, Conn. She works as a financial accountant and earned a finance degree at Central Connecticut State University, where she minored in criminal justice. Brady, who struggled with alcoholism in her family, has said she intends to become an advocate for children of addicts.

Miss Alabama USA was first runner-up in the field of 51 Miss USA contestants tonight, a group that became progressively smaller over the two-hour contest, pageant pros strutting their stuff and answering questions about privacy concerns, treason, swimsuits and packing during the Las Vegas pageant.

Libell Duran, Miss New Jersey USA, did not make the top-15 cut determined by preliminary judges this past week in Las Vegas, the final competitors announced near the start of the show.

Duran, 22, who won the Miss New Jersey USA title in October, lives in Keasbey, Woodbridge Township with her family. She made her grand entrance in a long evening gown, while others opted for mini dresses and flouncy skirts.

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But Duran wasn’t the only Jersey connection to be had at Miss USA. There was “Jersey Shore” alumnus Pauly D, the pageant’s celebrity DJ, and co-host Nick Jonas, who hails from Wyckoff and performed with the Jonas Brothers as part of the show, while contestants showed off their bathing suits. His hosting partner was E! personality Giuliana Rancic.

Before Brady won tonight, Nana Meriwether was reigning Miss USA. Meriwether took the title when Olivia Culpo, the winner of last year’s competition, advanced to win Miss Universe. Both competitions, under the umbrella of the Miss Universe Organization, are headed up by Donald Trump. Tonight Culpo announced the next Miss Universe competition will make its home in Moscow this November.

This year’s Miss USA judges included actress Wendie Malick, singer and TV host Christina Milian, reality show star-actress NeNe Leakes and fashion designer-turned-reality star Betsey Johnson.

Among those that made the top 15: delegates from California, Nevada, Connecticut, Texas, Illinois, Alabama, Maryland, West Virginia, Utah (winner of Miss Photogenic) and North Carolina — that contestant traveled to the competition with 40 pairs of shoes in tow.

If she doesn’t win Miss USA, Libell Duran may set her sights on a career in criminal justice. Her ultimate pageant goal: Miss Universe. (Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger)

 

Erin Brady wins Miss USA 2013 as Miss Connecticut

AS VEGAS – A 25-year-old accountant from Connecticut with a secret glamorous side is the new Miss USA.

Erin Brady of South Glastonbury, Conn., won the beauty pageant Sunday night after strutting in a white sparkly gown and answering a question about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding widespread DNA tests.

She beat out 51 other beauty queens every U.S. state and Washington D.C.at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip to take the title from outgoing champion Miss Maryland Nana Meriwether.

Asked if she agreed with the decision to swab the cheeks of arrestees, Brady said she did, since they had committed crimes after all.

As Brady was crowned, she could be seen mouthing “Oh my God, oh my God” with tears in her eyes.

As the stage emptied, the blonde woman spoke about her commitment to fighting drug and alcohol abuse, which have marked those close to her.

“I grew up in a family influenced by that and I think it’s really important to help the children of families that are suffering from those problems,” she told The Associated Press.

As Miss USA, Brady gets the crown and a New York apartment for one year. She is expected to spend her title reign on a nationwide speaking tour and raising breast and ovarian cancer awareness, the organization’s official cause.

The Central Connecticut State University fiance major could not contain her excitement at the prospect of telling her bosses at Prudential Financial she wasn’t coming in tomorrow. Or ever again.

Asked what she was looking forward to now that the competition is over, she described a routine that sounded not very different from her training regime: getting in her beauty sleep and hitting the gym.

Her father Francis said he always knew his math-oriented daughter was a glamour girl. She and her sisters used to strut around and pretend they were beauty queens.

“They would model around the pool,” he said.

Her sister Audrey, 20, said with tears in her eyes that her grandmother would orchestrate the shows.

“She’d be like, ‘prance around the pool like Miss America.'”

The family was taken by surprise when Brady announced that she would be entering the Miss Connecticut competition two years ago, but cheered her on.

“She just went up there on a whim, man. But it was like, ‘Just go for it. There should be more people like you who are competing, where it’s not all about the hair and the makeup, but personality too,'” Audrey said.

Fiancee Tony Capasso said it was her winning personality that propelled her to the crown. He said he advised her to compete without makeup.

Brady told The Associated Press she hopes that her background will help dispel the image held by some of the bimbo beauty queen.

“I think that now more than ever, they’re accepting that we’re all intelligent individuals and that it’s really not a stereotype anymore,” she said.

Unlike the rival Miss America pageant, Miss USA doesn’t ask its queens to perform a talent or choose a charity mission.

Brady will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow this winter.

Last year’s Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, won that international crown, becoming the first Miss USA to ascend to Miss Universe in 16 years.

Brady said she is determined to pull of that feat for the U.S. again.

In the moments before she won, Brady held hands with first runner up Mary Margaret McCord, of Alabama. McCord could be seen saying, “I love you” in the moments before the winner was announced. Miss Illinois Stacie Juris was second runner up.

Two of the six judges’ questions on Sunday touched on the controversial data-collection programs run by the National Security Agency brought to light earlier this month.

In both cases, the queens took an unconcerned attitude. Miss South Carolina said the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden who leaked the information should not be charged with treason. Miss Alabama said the programs did not bother her.

Brady also took a sanguine attitude in her answer about check swabs.

“If someone is being prosecuted and committed a crime, its should happen. There are so many crimes that if that’s one step closer to stopping them, than we should be able to do so,” she said.

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