In most ways, Olivia Culpo is like many of her college aged peers: bubbly, optimistic, and fun-loving — all with the exception of one major point. She possesses the superhuman ability to balance a modeling career, Dean’s List at Boston University, a lifelong passion for the cello, and you know, throwing herself into the Miss USA pageant mix. (No big deal, right?) While just one of these feats is enough to bog down anyone’s schedule, Miss Rhode Island is pulling some next-level time management tricks to keep it together. Here’s a peek at her story.
What part of Rhode Island are you from? Have you always lived there and do you live there now?
Yes, Cranston, but I go to school at Boston University so I live here in Boston too.
You’re regularly making Dean’s List. Impressive! How do you balance your academics, working as a model, and tackling pageant work on the side?
It was a lot of time planning and my social life kind of went down a little. I learned to incorporate my social life with my work life and my school life. So I’d maybe hang with friends while we do school work, or for example, coming here to Karmaloop is such a social environment. Modeling is not like I’m sitting in a cubicle – I’d be going crazy! I like that it’s something where you interact with a lot of people.
What are you studying? What do you hope to do when you graduate in a couple years?
Communications, I just officially declared my major! I think I’d like to do broadcasting, definitely something in front of the camera.
Tell us a little bit about your music. How long have you been a cellist?
Thirteen years. I started playing because my parents are both musicians. My mom is freelance but she actually plays with the Boston Symphony; my dad went to BU for music with my mom, but he veered toward the business side of the industry because he didn’t want to be a starving artist [chuckle]. My whole family basically grew up with a lot of music. I sing too, but the cello is what I dedicated most of my time to when I was younger.
What’s your favorite song to sing?
Hmm, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” — I’ll sing anything though, I really like Mariah Carey, she has a beautiful voice.
You entered Miss Rhode Island on kind of a whim [Ed. Note: further proof that she is superhuman!], it wasn’t so much a goal or hobby you built up over your lifetime. Was it challenging to put yourself in the pageant frame of mind while you prepared?
I’m still struggling with the frame of mind! You need to find the right balance between being yourself and being the punched up, competition version of yourself. You have to stay true to your personality instead of thinking about who you are in relation to others. Definitely don’t let the competition aspect of it get to your head, otherwise you won’t be yourself — you’ll be comparing. Only focus on things you can control and just keep moving!
I think that’s a great attitude to have in general! Switching gears a bit, you probably have been working out a lot to prep for the event. Do you have any tips for staying in shape? I know this is especially relevant as we all face our real-world version of the “Swimsuit Portion” with summer rapidly approaching.
Totally! I work out 3 times a week resistance training and 3 times a week doing cardio. Resistance is basic lifting weights, for cardio I’ll do running or Zumba. I eat small healthy meals every 2-3 hours — and stay away from liquid calories! Juice is a killer. The sugar will go straight to your butt.
What are your favorite brands to wear during your average day?
How would you describe your style?
Simple, classic. On the pageant side I love Diane von Furstenberg. I’m not a huge jewelry person, I really like things to stay simple.
Looking back on your childhood years, is there any passing trend that you fondly remember but are also kind of mortified by (in that typical 90s way)?
I had these velvet cheetah pants — bellbottoms! And kind of cropped. Those were ugly.
What’s the weirdest thing you carry in your bag at all times?
Tape, because you never know when you’ll need it!
Have you ever had a pageant “movie moment” where you tripped or misspoke or anything?
Yup! I slept through my alarm for the Miss Rhode Island pageant… it should have been AM but it was on PM, and I woke up a half hour before I was supposed to be at the venue. I managed to get there and it was running late, so I ended up being right on time. Phew!
Have you traveled a lot for work?
I went to LA last week, we were shooting a CHI commercial for the pageant and we had a media tour in NY as well, that was cool because a lot of press was there getting everyone hyped for the pageant.
How did they fit all of you in one place?
It’s like herding sheep! Everyone is walking around, fixing hair, there are 51 of us.
Is it crazy to be in the midst of everyone getting ready?
Well, we do most of our beautifying in our hotel room. I’m rooming with Oregon, so excited. She is very sweet.
What’s your favorite place in RI? Where should visitors go?
Ocean Ave. in Newport is really pretty. And I always think in terms of food, so, I’m a huge fan of clam cakes and chowder at Iggy’s in Narragansett. It is so good! I die for that.
How about in Boston?
I love Coolidge Corner Cinema! I love the movies and I love weird movies. Plus, you can bring your own food!
We are thrilled to send off this gorgeous face and warming personality to the Miss USA competition in Vegas. Olivia is totally deserving of the crown and we wish her luck in earning the hearts of millions. Watch the pageant on June 3, 9pm EST on NBC — in the meantime, vote your ass off here so Olivia can win fan favorite!