Tennessee's Rachel Smith, a journalism graduate of Belmont University, was crowned Miss USA on Friday night, edging out 50 other aspiring beauty queens.

Smith, 21, of Clarksville, also interned last year for the production company behind "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and for WTVF-TV in Nashville. She is the daughter of retired service members who settled in Clarksville after being transferred to the 101st Airborne Division at nearby Fort Campbell, Ky., according to her Miss Tennessee USA biography.

Contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia started off the competition in hopes of succeeding Miss USA Tara Conner in a televised pageant that didn't shy away from Conner's much-publicized bout with alcoholism.

In winning the crown, Smith edged out finalists Meagan Yvonne Tandy of California; Cara Renee Gorges of Kansas; Helen Salas of Nevada; and Danielle Lacourse of Rhode Island.