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Cool(ey) choice! Chelsea Cooley Miss USA 2005


April 11: There is a new Miss Universe USA. 21-year old Miss North Carolina Chelsea Cooley, a brunette who "sees a lot of herself in Oprah Winfrey," was anointed as Miss Universe USA at the 54th annual pageant Monday night. She put her hand to her mouth and wept when the results were announced.

The pageant was held this time at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore. Last year's Miss USA Shandi Finnessey of Missouri crowned Chelsea Cooley as the new titleholder of Miss USA 2005. Chelsea Cooley will now represent USA on compete May 30 at the Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand.

Chelsea Cooley was Miss North Carolina Teen USA in 2000. She was also first runner-up in last year's Miss division.

Ms Cooley is a 21 year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina who is currently studying fashion marketing at the Art Institute of Charlotte.

The Miss USA 2005 five finalists were asked questions written by their fellow contestants. The question for Chelsea Cooley was: "What famous person does your personality most parallel?"

She replied, "I guess it would be Oprah. She has a passion for life. She loves what she does, and she works so hard to try to achieve everything in her life. ... I try to emulate myself after that."

Through the two-hour event, the contestants competed in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. During these competitions the "Top Five" finalists were selected before the crowning. The estimated worldwide TV viewing audience of Miss USA 2005 was more than 250 million.

Runners up:

Miss California, Brittany Hogan, 20, was first runner-up. Rounding out the top five were Miss Kentucky, Kristen Lynn Johnson, 23; Miss Illinois, Jill Gulsteth, 21; and Miss Florida, Melissa Witek, 24.

The 51 contestants were trimmed to 15, then 10 semifinalists and finally five finalists for Monday's evening gown and swimsuit competitions.

At the end of night when she was earlier crowned Miss North Carolina, she had said: "I'm never taking this off," she said Chelsea Cooley at the end of the night, pointing at her tiara and title banner. She will have to take it off now. She just got a bigger crown.

Sponsors of MISS USA ® 2005 include: CoverGirl Cosmetics, "Official Cosmetics" sponsor; The School for Film and Television; Preciosa Crystal, "Official Crystal Award;" Tadashi Fashions, "Official Fashion" sponsor; Mikimoto, "Official Jewelry" sponsor; American Airlines; Steve Madden, "Official Fashion Footwear;" Suzuki, "Official Automobile" sponsor; and Farouk Systems, "Official Haircare" sponsor and Mystic Tan.


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