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Miss Rhode Island’s Olivia Culpo Pageant Dress And How She Became Famous

Did Olivia Culpo really come from nowhere? Was the Olivia Culpo pageant dress for Miss Rhode Island really a $100 rental? Was she actually an overweight nerd who spent summers in band camp playing the cello?

With her less than 5’6” height (without heels) and brunette locks, Olivia Culpo is not your ordinary beauty queen! But, she also did not begin her modeling debut at her first Miss Rhode Island pageant. How’d she do it?

Olivia rented her Miss Rhode Island dress on Rent The Runway for $100!

As winner of The Miss Rhode Island pageant, Olivia Culpo went on to become Miss USA 2012 and then Miss Universe 2012.

Olivia beat out top 5 contestants Miss Australia Renae Ayris, Miss Venezuela Irene Esser, Miss Brazil Gabriela Markus, and Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon.

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Yet, she has not let all of her success go to her head.  She says that we must,

“appreciate everyday like it’s the last day” – Olivia Culpo

Culpo is someone who everyone likes. She is not above anything…even with her enviable crown! No Blair Waldorf here. Culpo even enjoys college life. For funny, incriminating photos, go here.

Some History About Olivia Before She Found Fame

Olivia is a former Boston University student. She studied communications while modeling for Maggie Inc. in Boston. During college, she picked up modeling gigs at Karmaloop, Style Boston, CHI, and more.  She appeared on the cover of Improper Bostonian after winning Miss USA. Olivia was on the cover of STUFF Magazine in their “Flirt” issue early in her modeling career (pre-Miss Rhode Island at age 18). Culpo also had a small role in Mark Walhberg’s movie TED.

She’s A Family Girl

Culpo is the middle of 5 with two sisters, Sophie Culpo, 15, and Aurora Culpo, 23. Olivia is leading the way for her sisters who are also starting modeling gigs in conjunction with their studies. So cute!

Culpo’s siblings at Miss Universe competition + Joe Jonas!

REVEALED: Miss Rhode Island’s Olivia Culpo Pageant Dress

Olivia started training for the Miss Rhode Island competition with her coach, Danielle Lacourse. For the Miss Rhode Island competition, her evening gown was not typical of pageant gown brands. She rented a simple nude-y pink keyhole Nicole Miller gown from Rent The Runway for $100!

Although it’s sold out now, this Topshop dress is similar and I love this Missguided dress. This strapless gown is also really pretty.

Olivia Culpo in a Karmaloop ad in Boston

What Olivia Wore At Miss USA

For Miss USA, Olivia wore an evening gown more commonly seen in pageants. She wore a flowy purple dress by pageant designer, Sherri Hill. Here’s a similar gown on Lipsy.

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At Miss USA pageant, Olivia  wears a  purple Sherri Hill gown

Olivia’s Miss Universe Dress

In the Miss Universe competition, she again opted for a non-pageant brand gown, which gave her a standout look from the competition.  She strutted her stuff, after a slight trip, in a red velvet, poof-skirt dress with plunging neckline and long sleeves.

Olivia Culpo’s Miss USA dress was by Georges Hobeika.  This couture gown was featured on the fall 2012 runways during Paris Fashion Week here. Olivia further stood out from the competition by completely changing her hair by securing it in a sock bun atop her head.

At Miss Universe, Olivia wears a Georges Hobeika red couture gown

Fun Facts About Olivia

Olivia loves Boston hotspots like Scoozi (Sangria and pizza!) on Newbury Street and Parish Cafe for their mazing sandwiches. These were also two of my favorite restaurants while I attended college in Boston (I went to Babson College).

Olivia reading STUFF magazine’s “Flirt” issue that she covered in 2011 at Scoozi on Newbury St.

Modeling for Karmaloop in Jeffrey Campbell boots outside of Parish Cafe in Boston

More Photos of Olivia Culpo Before She Was Famous

Scroll down to see photos of Olivia Culpo before she found worldwide fame! If you liked this post, please share it on Facebook.

At a Style Boston photo shoot

Olivia is seen hanging out with Ryan Lochte during NYFW 2012, before winning Miss Universe.

Olivia does her sister’s makeup before a sibling photo shoot in 2011.

On Skype showing her Miss USA crown to the world!

The Culpos definitely have a sense of humor 🙂

Olivia in September 2011 winning Miss Rhode Island in a peach Nicole Miller strapless gown. RENT THIS DRESS (exact): Rent The Runway Nicole Miller Keyhole Strapless Peach Gown – $100 Rental

About The Author

Britt Hackmann is the co-founder of Nubry. Her background includes retail management, digital marketing strategy, fashion marketing, and marketing analytics. She loves snow skiing, tennis, traveling, partying in the big city and getting dirty in the countryside. Twitter @BrittHackmann Follow Gretchen and I on Instagram for previews of everything! @nubry

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