The untold truth of Olivia Culpo

Olivia Culpo is probably best known as being a former Miss Universe winner (she was the first American winner in over a decade), but there is so much more to the star than just her beauty queen history. Culpo is also a model, actress, reality television star, style icon, and a cook — and she does everything with an impressive ease that you can't help but admire. She's also the epitome of an Instagram influencer, with a page full of enviable travel photos. Oh, and you can't forget that the model is also known for the famous men she's dated in the past: Nick Jonas and Danny Amendola

In 2018, Culpo made two major career moves: she appeared in Amy Schumer's film I Feel Pretty, and revealed on Instagram that she's modeling for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue for 2019. It seems like only more exciting things are going to be coming her way in the future, and we can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeve. For now, let's take a look at a few of the things you probably never knew about Culpo, even if you're already a big fan. 

She plays the cello

One of Culpo's hidden talents is that she loves playing the cello. She's been playing the instrument since childhood — she did it in her pageants, and still does for her Instagram fans. In an interview with Ocean Drive, Culpo explained that she once felt like the talent set her apart from the other kids, but she said, "As I grew older, I began to love that because it is such a unique talent to have, and I do respect my parents for pushing it on me. [Though] at the time, I thought it made me the biggest loser on the planet."

Today, Culpo attributes her posture to the cello. She told ELLE, "It definitely made my arms and back stronger. To this day, I can tell that one arm is more muscular than the other because it's the arm I use to hold up my instrument. And wheeling that thing around was great for muscle tone!"

She went to band camp as a kid

As a kid, Culpo's love for the cello meant she spent her summers at band camp. In an interview with ELLE, Culpo revealed that she went to band camp for four years as a teenager, saying, "And my friends made fun of me. Everyone made fun of me. Even in high school, I was always struggling when I'd leave school because I'd want to hang out with my friends, obviously, but my cello wouldn't fit in anyone's car! So I would have to be that person who couldn't go anywhere fun because I'd have to be with my giant cello." 

She wasn't the only one in her family who was interested in music. In an interview with Ocean Drive, she explained that she and all of her siblings "would drive an hour out of state to go to the best orchestras." In many of the Instagram videos Culpo posts of herself playing the cello, she's with her mom, so clearly it's in their blood.

She got into pageants because she wanted to start acting

Culpo's time in the spotlight began when she won Miss Rhode Island, the first pageant she had ever entered, and her career took off when she won Miss Universe. But Culpo wasn't a typical pageant kid who had worked for years to win the title. In an interview with The Coveteur, she explained that she started doing them because she wanted to be an actress. 

She said, "I was at college studying communications and acting, and I just wanted to work on my stage presence. I looked at other people who were serious actors, and many of them had actually started in pageants, like Halle Berry for example. That's the only reason that I entered my first pageant when I was 18 years old; it was Miss Rhode Island." Winning has helped her career in more ways than one — she added that the interviews she had to do all over the world were "great media training." 

She owns a restaurant with her family and loves cooking

In 2016, Culpo revealed in an interview with Taylor Magazine that she has wanted to open her own restaurant since she was a little girl, explaining that her parents both own restaurants in New England. Her childhood was full of "food and parties" with her large Italian family. She said, "I just love the energy and comfort of a big busy restaurant." She went on to make that dream come true — in 2017, The Boston Globe reported that Culpo and her family had opened a restaurant in North Kingstown, Rhode Island called Back 40. 

And you might just catch her in the kitchen there — the star is really into making her own meals. In an interview with Arcadia, she said, "I absolutely love cooking and I'm always working on great new recipes." She explained that she mainly cooks to stay healthy and "make delicious wholesome meals with healthy ingredients and ultimately with lower calories." 

Her biggest turnoff is when guys wear sneakers to the beach

Culpo is known for her sense of style, and her Instagram page is full of outfit photos taken all over the world. As it turns out, she has some strong opinions on men's style as well. In an interview with GQ, Culpo said her biggest turnoff is when guys wear sneakers to the beach. She said, "Not like boat shoes, those are okay. I mean if you're going to be on a boat you can wear boat shoes." She added, "I don't like when guys wear like bathing suits to go to eat or stuff like that."

And when GQ asked her which male star needs to step it up when it comes to fashion, she didn't hesitate to answer, saying, "I want to say Brad Pitt because I keep thinking about his beard. Oh, Jack Black! He needs to step it up." She revealed that she loves "preppy styles" for guys, as long as it's not "too much." 

She loves meditating

Between modeling, acting, traveling, and helping to run a restaurant, one can only imagine that Culpo's schedule is incredibly hectic. In an interview with The Cut, Culpo said that one of her favorite ways to relax and take part in some self care is to meditate. She explained that she started meditating when she was 18 years old after her mom introduced her to it. She admitted, "I do fall in and out of it — it's really hard to do it every single day like you're supposed to — but I find that when I do take 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes before bed, it makes a huge difference in my day-to-day life."

Culpo is also a big fan of exercising. She told The Cut that she likes to "switch it up," noting that she loves Soul Cycle, Pilates, yoga, running, and barre class. For Culpo, changing up her workouts is what keeps her so interested in them. 

She wasn't a fan of college culture

When Culpo won Miss Rhode Island in 2012, she was a freshman at Boston University. As it turns out, she wasn't a huge fan of her college days. In an interview with Haute Living, she explained that she would often drive home to her parents' house in Rhode Island on weekends or spend Friday nights studying in her dorm room, and not just because she wanted good grades. 

She said, "I really didn't like it. My parents never made me feel guilty about going to college and how expensive it was because they're the best, but it made me feel weird, knowing that it was so expensive [and the students around me were wasting their parents' money by partying]." She added, though, that she did put a lot of her pressure on herself to do well, which gave her an excuse not to go to parties. She said, "I loved learning in college, but the other aspects I didn't love. I was always itching to get out." 

She used to get made fun of for her eyebrows, but now loves them

One feature Culpo is known for her are gorgeous eyebrows, which always stand out. While Culpo seems to embrace them now, they weren't something she always loved. In an interview with Byrdie, Culpo said that she's always had thick eyebrows, but as a kid, she would beg her mom to let her get them done. She said, "Actually, in grade school, I remember the boys laughing and telling me I had a unibrow." 

It worked in her favor in the end, though. Culpo told Haute Living, "big eyebrows became a trend, so that worked out. But there was a time that I felt very self-conscious about them, and then I ended up actually liking and being able to make them my own unique characteristic." And when speaking to Byrdie, she even revealed her eyebrow grooming secrets, saying she only tweezes them and also trims them regularly, about once a week. 

Her first celebrity crush was Justin Timberlake

Like anyone else, Culpo has had her fair share of celebrity crushes, and she's not afraid to talk about them in public when asked. In an interview with Glamour, she revealed that, like so many other women who grew up in the early 2000s, her very first celebrity crush was Justin Timberlake, back when he was in *NSYNC. She explained why that crush ended, saying, "he started wearing that fedora all the time, so I just got over it!" 

While it's unclear if Culpo is still into Timberlake, she did tell GQ her other Hollywood crush — and his style doesn't seem to affect that at all. She said, "Ryan Gosling's like my crush but I don't really pay attention to his personal style." She also said that her favorite actor in general is Tom Hanks, stating, "I love him so much. I honestly feel like when I watch him on screen that I know him." 

She uses the Pomodoro method to focus

Culpo's schedule seems so jam-packed that it's hard to imagine how she manages to get anything done in an organized manner. In an interview with Byrdie, she shared that she thinks taking little breaks throughout the day is really important, explaining that she uses the Pomodoro method, a popular way to manage your time more efficiently. She said, "It's basically a way to calm our minds since we're all so overstimulated. If your attention span is short like mine, taking those breaks will help." 

However, she recognizes that wellness is different for everyone. Culpo told Byrdie her advice to anyone who wants to get more into wellness: "You really have to listen to your body. Whenever you make it seem like a chore, you're not going to want to do it, you're not going to enjoy it, and then you're not going to reap the benefits. You have to try to figure out how to make it fun and simple for you."