The 22-year-old Miss Venezuela edged a fellow Latina, Miss Colombia Taliana Vargas, who won 1st runner-up.
The second, third and fourth runners-up were Miss Dominican Republic, Miss Russia and Miss Mexico, respectively.
"Actually, God made men and women different. But the big difference between women and men--it doesn't matter what kind of life they live--is that men think that the faster way to go to a point is to go straight. Women, no. The faster way to go to a point is to go through curves and fixing every curve," Miss Venezuela answered international judge Louis Lacari.
Before the special announcement, Miss Venezuela, who is into interior design and learning new languages, was among the crowd favorites.
She wore a beautiful yellow night gown when given the 18K white and yellow gold crown, which was valued at $120,000. She is the 57th Miss Universe.
The crown was given to her by Miss Universe 2007 Riyo Mori of Japan.
Earlier, the Miss Congeniality category was awarded to Rebeca Moreno of El Salvador and the Best National Costume award was handed to Miss Thailand Gavintra Photijak.