Crowning Glories


Dreaming of a tiara of your very own? Then take some tips from Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo. “I would say the most important part of doing well in a pageant is confidence. While people may think having the perfect physique or evening dress is an important aspect of a pageant, it is not as crucial as just believing in yourself and being open to the audience. Heck, I rented my dress for $20 on!” And even if you don’t take home the crown, Olivia says you can walk away with big rewards. “Pageants are an awesome opportunity to learn more about yourself and achieve the confidence that is ideal to succeeding in anything. Despite popular belief, the pageant world explores beauty that is much more than skin-deep. Your time on stage is your opportunity to showcase the real you: the background, talents, and values that make up your own unique and beautiful presence. You don’t do well in pageants by trying to be or act like another person. You win by being YOU.”

Crowd Pleaser

It’s no wonder Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo has such stage presence — she’s been performing for crowds since she was just a tyke. “As a child I preformed with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and then during my high school years my family made the commute from Providence to Boston once again,” Olivia says. “I not only got to sit next to such talented young musicians, but during my final year of BYSO, the orchestra toured England. Another great music institute is the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. I played with RIPYO from my very first years playing the cello, and attending weekly orchestra and chamber music rehearsal really became a big part of my upbringing. I will never forget playing in Carnegie Hall with this orchestra when I was just a little peanut — I think only 12 years old!” Playing Carnegie Hall is huge milestone, sure, but Olivia will soon perform for an even bigger audience. Watch her compete for Miss USA on June 3rd on NBC!

Music Mentors

“My most memorable summers were spent in North Carolina at the Brevard Music Center,” says Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo. “This summer-long intensive music festival deepened my appreciation for music and gave me the privilege to catch a glimpse of the many talented artists of the music world today. I will always remember my experience of watching the master classes and performances of world-famous musicians like Yo-Yo Ma, Roberto Diaz, and Andrés Díaz. I will also never forget performing under conductors like Boston Pops’ Keith Lockhart and Larry Rachleff. Playing Mahler 5 — that is something I will never forget!” 

Stocking Up

Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo wowed in the talent round with her trusty cello. So where does she shop for sheet music? “There is a small great music shop called Music Espresso on Huntington Avenue in Boston. It is a great way to get your hands on music rather than having to search online. It is a bit more personal.”

Model Behavior

“For someone interested in modeling, I would suggest getting professional pictures taken and submitting them to an agency of interest in a nearby city,” advises Miss Rhode Island Olivia Culpo, who’s a model and actress as well as a musician and pageant queen. She had some words for aspiring thespians, too. “If you’re a student, take advantage of any acting programs your school may offer. If you’re not a student, there are always acting classes offered in Boston at places such as Boston Casting. This will help increase your abilities and give you an opportunity to get those creative juices flowing!”

String Theory


Chances are, while a chunk of her classmates are chugging beer at keg parties at Kappa Kappa Chi Chi Phi Sig, Olivia Culpo will not be there. No disrespect intended here, but she's got better things to do -- like studying philosophy, playing the cello, modeling at a shoot, or working with her Miss USA pageant coach. 

The Boston University sophomore is planning to go places, thank you, and there's no time to waste. There's work to be done! After all, practice makes perfect — a lesson she first started learning as a fifth grader in Cranston, Rhode Island. Her mother, a violist in the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and her father, a restaurant owner (of Parish Cafe and the Hill Tavern, among others), insisted that all five of their children learn to play an instrument. Olivia showed promise with the cello, and so she was sent off to band camp for eight consecutive summers. While her friends were canoeing and swimming their summers away, Olivia was restringing her cello and playing Beethoven. She was irked. In fact, there were times she downright hated it. But she couldn’t help but be impressed by the mind-blowing work ethic and talent of the kids surrounding her. They made high school popularity efforts like cheerleading and the prom look frivolous. Mastering the cello, it turns out, offered lessons beyond music.  

When Olivia was 13, she took a seat in the second row during her all-girls Catholic school annual "pinning ceremony." In front of her sat a young lady whose elegance and confidence immediately entranced the young Olivia. She was beautiful, sure, but there something more — a confidence, a composure that captivated the room. Her name was Danielle Lacourse, and she was the runner-up in the Miss USA pageant. From that day on, Olivia aspired to conduct herself in the same way. Last year, as a freshman at Boston University, Olivia started putting the pieces together: she was accepted as a model at Boston's top modeling agency, Maggie, Inc. Five months later, she landed on the cover of STUFF Magazine. She started auditioning for films and positioned herself at any public appearance that would help perfect her stage presence. (Full disclosure: she emceed a Boldfacers event last February and impressed the heck out of us.) She started training for the Miss Rhode Island competition, hiring her childhood mentor —  Danielle Lacourse —  to coach her. Last fall, Olivia walked the runway wearing a crown and a sash. It was no fashion show. It was the Miss Rhode Island pageant, and Olivia won. Next up? Miss USA, where, with the help of her trusty cello, Danielle, and some cover-girl swagger, Olivia Culpo will enjoy her biggest close-up.



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