updated 06/18/2013 AT 7:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/19/2013 AT 7:00 AM ET
She turned heads in a gold-embellished gown. And then there was that orange bikini.
But you’re going to have to wait to see freshly minted Miss USA Erin Brady all dressed in white.
The Connecticut stunner, 25, who beat out 50 other American beauties, is engaged, but she put her wedding on hold to compete. “I wanted to live out my dream,” Sunday’s big winner tells PEOPLE.
At one point, she and her fiancé Tony Capasso discussed a Nov. 9 wedding, but that would fall on the same day she will now vie for the Miss Universe crown. (IN addition, pageant rules clearly state that titleholders are required to remain single throughout their reign.)
But what else do you need to know about the bride-to-eventually-be behind the crown?
1. She’s no regular
The third time was the charm for Brady, who had only competed in two other pageants (both for Miss Connecticut) before earning her new sash (and N.Y.C. apartment!).
2. She’ll do the math
Brady’s more than just a pretty face (and a hot bod, as proven by the swim portion of the beauty contest). Prior to winning, she worked as a financial accountant and planned to go back to school for her master’s degree at the University of Connecticut. “But then my life took a turn for the better,” she says, “and here I am today.”
3. She’ll race you
So how did she fit into that bikini after all? “I’m very active,” she says, “so I like to do a lot of outdoor activities.” Among her hobbies: running, hiking and yoga. And although she prides herself on her healthy eating habits, she’ll splurge on an ice cream sundae over pizza any day.
4. She would have answered that question a little differently
Miss Utah Marissa Powell may have flubbed her response to judge NeNe Leakes’s question about gender equality in the workplace, but Brady has her own answer in mind. “I would have just said that, unfortunately, this is just the society that we’re living in,” she says. “And we’re trying to make way and show that women are just as confident and powerful as men.
5. Listen up, Honey Boo Boo
The reigning queen also has a few words of wisdom for the budding pageant princess (and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo star). “I would say that definitely only stick with it if it is something she truly loves to do,” says Brady says of how she’d advise Alana Thompson. “You have to love yourself, and you have to love being there from the time you walk in to the time you leave.”