Actress, cook, cellist, TV presenter, showbiz darling and world-famous beauty queen, Olivia Culpo is an incredibly impressive young woman. We managed to grab a moment with this live wire during her hectic schedule to find out about life after winning Miss Universe.
For most 18-year-olds, the thought of entering a competition primarily based on looks would be enough to send their heartbeat through the roof. This did not deter Olivia, whilst studying at Boston University, a friend suggested that she enter the Miss Rhode Island 2012 beauty pageant, the rest is history.
Olivia revealed: “I asked my parents if I could do it and they thought it was a terrible idea.” In an act of teenage rebellion Olivia entered anyway. She laughed, then added: “I was just 18-years-old at the time and I couldn’t afford to enter it really but I thought why not? I had nothing to lose.” Despite this and much to her surprise, Culpo walked away as Miss Rhode Island 2012.
From the small state of Rhode Island then came the Miss USA competition the very same year, which again Culpo emerged the victor, thus booking her ticket to the Miss Universe finals in Las Vegas. Of course, this was an immense step up from what she had been used to at her regional event in Rhode Island. With the addition of swimsuit and interview rounds, the pressure amplified.
Olivia revealed: “You have to make sure you are in shape and eating correctly. It’s important to have a trainer or a great gym.”
She added: “The interview stage is equally as important if not more so. You have to be good at answering questions, expecting the unexpected and holding your own.”
It would seem that becoming Miss Universe is about a lot more than beauty and fitness, intelligence, charm and adaptability are paramount.
Attitude however, was something Olivia refused to adapt. Her steely determination to “try my hardest and whatever will happen will happen” paid off and she took the title of Miss Universe 2012. The moment the crown graced her head, she knew the risk of going against her parents wishes had been worth it.
She recalled frankly: “My life had changed before my eyes, there would be opportunities that could really help me in my career, it was going to change everything and I was really excited!”
When asked what makes a great Miss Universe, Culpo said: “I think it’s important to know you have to reach out to other people, you can’t really close yourself off. You have a duty to actually to make an effort to influence people. The more you give yourself to others, the better you will be.”
Being Miss Universe undoubtedly granted the opportunity to travel the world, allowing Olivia to visit places she thought she never thought she would. Speaking of travel, Culpo said: “To this day, these experiences have changed my perspective on life, it was very eye opening.”
Olivia fell head over heels in love with India’s rich culture and kind people, she recalled: “I wanted to take so many kids home with me. I felt so much for the poverty there and it really shaped the way that I view the world. Sometimes we don’t realise how blessed we are, it is so important it is to give back in the smallest ways.”
Olivia’s pageant days are now behind her, when she is not working she spends her time working out or in the kitchen.
Olivia said excitedly: “I absolutely love cooking and I’m always working on great new recipes. Whether it’s just cooking for myself or for family and friends, I am always trying to make household favourites healthier.”
She added: “I’m working a lot on baked goods, so using healthy alternatives such as; coconut flour, coconut oil, cocoa powder, raw chocolate, protein powder. I’m just trying to make delicious wholesome meals with healthy ingredients and ultimately with lower calories.”
Besides being busy in the kitchen, Olivia is a keen Cellist, having played her whole life. She said nostalgically: “I started when I was about 6-years-old, I grew up with it. My brothers and sisters all play instruments as well, it’s a big part of my family life.”
She added: “It was important for me to keep it up as an adult. It’s very therapeutic and I often play my cello when I am feeling super stressed.”
At present, Olivia is hard at work making a name for herself. There is not a day that goes by where her face is splashed across websites, newspapers and magazines all around the world. Naturally there is a pressure that comes from being in the spotlight but Olivia does not let it faze her.
She said nonchalantly: “I try not to let it affect the way I live my life normally. Just because they turn the camera on doesn’t mean I’m doing to be something different.”
She added: “I was raised to be hardworking and humble. The problem is that you can’t control what other people say or do, you can only control the way you behave. One of the most important lessons I have learnt in this industry is that you are not going to make everyone happy. Don’t bother trying, just be true to who you are be proud of yourself.”
We are part of a generation that seeks instant gratification and success and social media is the perfect catalyst. Olivia remains unfazed by her high-profile social media presence and the constant scrutiny that comes with it. She said: “It’s important to remember that most of what you see on social media is fake, it is not a real depiction of life. Cyber bullies are the worst, people who hide behind the computer and are negative towards others are not worth worrying about.”
She added: “When you know who you are and what your truth is, negativity from strangers is irrelevant. When you have people around you who really care about you and know you, it is their opinion you should be listening to.”
When looking to the future, Olivia revealed that she always sets herself goals to work towards. She laughed softly, then said: “Oh yes, there is always another milestone. There is so much coming up that I am excited about. I am in a really good place at the moment.”
So who knows what the future holds for bright young thing Olivia Culpo. From Rhode Island to ‘Miss Universe’, nothing is out of reach.
Ten Questions We Ask Everyone
1. What did you want to be when you were younger?
My dad owns restaurants and as a child I Ioved being a part of that. I loved feeling the family vibe and making people feel comfortable and happy. I have always liked the idea of owning my own business, especially a restaurant someday. I always wanted to take care of people and cook for them. You never know, maybe one day that will happen.
2. If you could offer advice to your twelve-year-old self, what would it be?
Never be discouraged, everyone has moments when they want to give up but it’s how you handle them that defines you and ultimately makes you stronger. If you keep pushing yourself you will build momentum and that often leads to you achieving bigger and better things.
3. You have 24 hours with no travel restrictions, how would you spend it?
I would love to go back to India, I really loved that experience. Then maybe I’d go to Egypt because I’ve never be there before.
4. What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you this year?
I can’t say exactly yet because there are some things in motion at the moment. Oh, I got my kitchen redone recently and I am a huge foodie so that was pretty exciting.
5. The film you can watch over and over yet never tire of?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
6. The song that always makes you emotional?
Vincent by Don McLean.
7. If you could spend an entire day with anyone uninterrupted, who would it be?
I am a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. I would love to pick his brain, he was incredible. I would love to know what it was like to be president at that time and how he head the United States through Civil War.
8. It is Friday night at midnight, where are you most likely to be?
I’m probably at home with a few friends, we usually just make dinner and watch movies.
9. What is your biggest vice?
I’m not always the best at texting back. I think I do a pretty good job for the most part but it’s hard when loved ones are on the other side of the world. I currently have 270 unread texts on my phone. Help!
10. How would you like to be remembered?
It’s strange, with people who are in the spotlight you don’t really get to know the real person, you just get a glimpse at the shiny facade they want to show. That’s not how I want to be remembered, as this unachievable perfection, that’s not real or true. Instead of a big question mark or blurred lines, I’d like people to see the truth about me, whether they like it or not.
Photographer: Ashley Barrett
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