Olivia Culpo: 'Beauty is about you being you'

Beauty queen Olivia Culpo's bubbly personality, enviable looks and on-point fashion sense have gained her two million followers on Instagram.
Beauty queen Olivia Culpo's bubbly personality, enviable looks and on-point fashion sense have gained her two million followers on Instagram.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Olivia Culpo won a beauty contest the first time she took part and went on to be crowned Miss Universe

In person, American beauty Olivia Culpo is poised, gracious and surprisingly laid-back.

The 2012 Miss Universe winner is quick-witted and funny throughout her early morning interview with The Straits Times.

In town earlier this month to launch home-grown skincare brand Skin Inc's Oxy-Recharge Bubble Mask at Sephora, the Rhode Island native, who is an endorser of Skin Inc's products, shared that she was excited about being in Singapore for the first time.

"I've passed through the airport in transit a few times, but this is the first time I've gotten a chance to explore the city - it's so clean and warm. Coming from freezing New York, this is a great change," the 25-year-old says with a laugh.

Culpo was only 19 when she entered the Miss Rhode Island competition in 2012.

Despite it being her first pageant, the middle child of five siblings snapped up her state title, went on to win Miss America and then won the highest honour by being crowned the most beautiful woman in the universe that same year.

"I was so young, but I did it mainly because I was interested in the entertainment industry," she says.

"Winning the title was a whirlwind change for me because I was such a homebody - the sort to drive home all the time even when I was attending Boston University - but it did open up many doors for me in the industry."

It was a opportunity the brunette has not let go to waste.

Unlike numerous other beauty queens who have quietly faded into oblivion after their pageant wins, Culpo today has more than two million followers on Instagram, her own website, three movies slated for release this year alongside stars such as Bruce Willis and Amy Schumer and a restaurant she opened last year with her family in Rhode Island.

But more than anything, it is her bubbly personality, enviable looks and on-point fashion sense that have her fans following her every move.

"I like classic pieces with the occasional nod to trends. This year, I was really into red and rocked that quite a lot, from my fashion to make-up," she says.

"When it comes to fashion, I try and balance things out. I like monochromes with a red lip. But with more adventurous looks, I prefer to wear simpler make-up - think clean skin and no mascara."

Her keen eye for fashion has also seen her build up her television presenting chops - she is a regular on the red carpet coverage circuit for events such as the Emmy's and the Met Gala.

But with her hectic work and travel schedule - she travels anywhere from five to 20 times a month - it is really taking care of her body and skin that she says is her first priority.

These days, Culpo enjoys using exfoliating masks like Skin Inc's Oxy-Recharge Bubble Mask to help manage her skin during the drier winter months and tops off her regimen with hydrating products that include ingredients such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

To feel good overall, she also tries to be consistent with her workouts, which include barre, pilates, spinning and the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines.

"Of course, none of this replaces getting enough sleep, drinking water and staying away from caffeine, but it definitely helps," she says.

"At the end of the day, I believe beauty is just about you doing you. The more you try to be yourself instead of someone else, the better you will look and feel."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2018, with the headline 'Beauty world'. Print Edition | Subscribe