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A 26-year-old entrepreneur from Texas, Crystle Stewart was crowned Miss USA 2008 in a grand function at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, Las Vegas. Crystle beat girls from 49 other states for the coveted crown.

“I want to talk to people about how to set a goal and achieve it,” she told The Associated Press after the show. “Because I just achieved my goal.”

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Stewart models professionally and also runs a party-planning and motivational speaking company. She also holds a degree in consumer science and merchandising from the University of Houston. She said she would dedicate her life to international philanthropy but was heading for Hollywood soon.

It’s worth noting that Crystle is one of the very few black women to be chosen for the title in the peagent’s 57-year old history. It was her sixth attempt at the top spot.

The 15 finalists also included Miss Missouri, Candice Crawford, sister of Gossip-Girl star Chace Crawford.

Crystle overcame runner-up Leah Laviano and second runner-up Tiffany Andrade to succeed Rachel Smith as Miss USA.

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Other winners of the evening included Miss Alaska USA, Courtney Erin Carroll, chosen as “Miss Photogenic USA” based on voting at the organization’s Web site, and Miss Ohio USA, Monica Day, named by the other contestants “Miss Congeniality.”

Donny and Marie Osmond hosted the glitzy event.

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