Miss Puerto Rico, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, the youngest of the five finalists, was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday night.
The first runner-up was Miss Japan, Kurara Chibana, 24.
The 55th Miss Universe contest was held at the fabled Shrine Auditorium near downtown Los Angeles.
It was a homecoming of sorts. The first Miss Universe pageant was held about 40 kilometres away in Long Beach, California, in 1952.
Ending her year as Miss Universe was Canadian Natalie Glebova, who was born in Russia. Among the issues she helped herald during her reign was the need for assistance to people with HIV/AIDS in Africa.