Sunday, July 27, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 1 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

New Miss Universe says win shows confidence is all

Olivia Culpo is first Miss USA to win since Miss Hawaii Brooke Lee

By Hannah Dreier

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:40 p.m. HST, Dec 20, 2012

LAS VEGAS >> The 20-year-old Rhode Islander who brought the Miss Universe crown back to the U.S. for the first time in 15 years is hoping that her quick rise through the beauty contest ranks and an onstage stumble will show women that anything is possible.

Perched high above the Las Vegas Strip in the Planet Hollywood winner’s suite Thursday, Olivia Culpo told The Associated Press that her yearlong transformation from Boston University sophomore to pageant winner proves that women can accomplish anything to which they set their minds.

“My first pageant was a year ago and already I’m Miss Universe. It’s kind of incredible,” she said.

She pointed to the fact that she stumbled on her red velvet evening dress on Wednesday night before beating out beauty queens from 88 countries as proof that confidence and poise matter more than perfect performance.

“I like the fact that I tripped last night in my evening gown, I think that that’s cool,” she said.

“And you learn from it: Don’t step on your dress,” she added with a laugh.

The former Miss USA spent the first day of her reign surrounded by stylists and handlers, wearing a scarlet mini-dress with cutout cap sleeves and sky-high silver heels. Plates of cupcakes and croissants untouched as she sipped from a water bottle with a straw.

For the past six months, Culpo has shared a New York City apartment with outgoing Miss Universe Leila Lopes of Angola. The two titleholders traditionally room together.

Her coronation ended a long losing spell for the U.S. in the competition co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC. An American had not won the Miss Universe title since Miss Hawaii Brook Lee won in 1997. 

A middle child of five, Culpo was studying theater and communications at Boston University when she decided to enroll in the Miss Rhode Island pageant last year to improve her stage presence.

She ended up winning that contest in a rented $20 dress with a hole in the back. She claimed the Miss USA crown in the spring, despite losing an earring during the interview portion.

Culpo said she studied world events, prepared for interview questions and memorized proper walking and posing techniques using stacks of flashcards.

The aspiring actress took a year off from Boston University to fulfill the travel and charity obligations that come along with the Miss USA crown, and now says she will not return to her former college.

“I do want to finish my education,” she said. “I just don’t think that Boston has a big enough market for what I want to do.”

As Miss Universe, Culpo will advocate for HIV prevention, the official platform of the title holder, but does not intend to speak out on other issues.

She did have a word for the “pageant moms” who have caught the nation’s attention on reality television shows such as TLC’s “TLC’s Toddlers & Tiaras.”

“If you think that your child is going to be really sensitive to the fact that they might not win— which they probably won’t— you shouldn’t do it because it’s not healthy if they get the feeling that they’re not good enough or they’re not worthy,” she said.

Culpo’s mother, a professional viola player, discouraged her from entering the world of beauty competitions last year. 

“I didn’t see the point; I thought it was silly and a waste of time,” Susan Culpo said. But she changed her mind when she saw the joy her daughter brought to hometown fans.

On Thursday, the mayor of Culpo’s home town of Cranston, R.I. called her win an inspiration for the city, state and nation.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 1 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
entrkn wrote:
Miss Philippines was clearly the better choice for Miss Universe... but when Donald Trump is in the room rou know the floor is leaning.
on December 20,2012 | 05:47PM
Breaking News
Political Radar
On policy

Warrior Beat
Apple fallout

Wassup Wit Dat!
Can You Spock ‘Em?

Warrior Beat
Meal plan

Volley Shots
Fey, Enriques on MJNT

Political Radar
Wilhelmina Rise, et al.

Court Sense
Cold War

Political Radar
Climate change