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Miss Colombia Takes Miss Universe Crown, Miss USA First-Runner Up

Paulina Vega edged Nia Sanchez and contestants from more than 80 countries in the 63rd annual pageant, airing on NBC

After a three-hour live extravaganza on NBC Sunday night, Miss Colombia Paulina Vega emerged victorious as the 63rd Miss Universe in the long-running pageant. Miss USA Nia Sanchez was the first-runner up, followed by Miss Ukraine Diana Harkusha.

Vega said the pageants leading up to this year’s Miss Universe event were the first she’d ever competed in, and she intends for them to be her last as the business student plans to return to her studies.

The 22-year old received her crown from outgoing Miss Universe, Gabriela Isler of Venezuela.

Natalie Morales (“Today”) served as host for the show, with musical performances by Gavin DeGraw, Nick Jonas and Prince Royce.

The original 88 contestants were narrowed down to a Top 15 during preliminary competition earlier in the week, though all of the contestants appeared on the broadcast. The pageant took place at Florida’s FIU Arena.

Though now largely associated with Donald Trump, who purchased Miss Universe in 1996, the pageant was first created in 1952 by Pacific Mills. Trump relocated the company’s headquarters to New York City, establishing the pageant as a New York event. Miss Universe traditionally lives in NYC during her reign.

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