SoCal Woman Wins Miss USA Pageant

Alyssa Campanella moved to LA from New Jersey about a year ago

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Miss Universe Organization
    Miss California USA 2011, Alyssa Campanella, is the winner of the 2011 MISS USA® Competition.

    A 21-year-old California woman has won the Miss USA crown.

    Alyssa Campanella, of Los Angeles, will represent the nation in this year's Miss Universe pageant.

    "Right now, I'm still kind of like -- whoa,'' Campanella said after she was named Miss USA Sunday in Las Vegas. .

    She answered a question about legalizing marijuana by saying she didn't think it should be fully legalized but it should be available to those who need it for medical purposes.

    "Real Housewives of New Jersey'' housewife Caroline Manzo asked the question. Campanella said she thought it was fair, given that she represents California.

    Marijuana has been legal for medical use in California for about 15 years.

    "Well, I understand why that question would be asked, especially with today's economy, but I also understand that medical marijuana is very important to help those who need it medically," she said during the pageant.

    "I'm not sure if it should be legalized, if it would really affect, with the drug war. I mean, it's abused today, unfortunately, so that's the only reason why I would kind of be a little bit against it, but medically it's OK.''

    Campanella calmed her nerves by playing Angry Birds backstage.

    She describes herself as a history geek and "Stars Wars" fan. She's obsessed with Britain's monarchy.

    "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.''

    Campanella moved to LA from New Jersey about a year ago.

    "The downs happen for a reason,'' she said. "The path that I'm on now is the path that's been meant to be.''

    Miss Tennessee Ashley Durham was the first runner-up.