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Olivia Culpo interview
Credit: Express

Put whatever preconceived notions you may have about beauty pageants aside: There is no denying that winning one, especially one as massive as Miss Universe, has some major advantages. The best one—in our opinion—is having the public platform to highlight social causes you care about. Just look at Olivia Culpo.

Since winning the crown in 2012, the influencer and recent Sports Illustrated cover star has made it her goal to give back. From working with Best Buddies, an organization that creates opportunities for the disabled community, to launching a collection of sunglasses with Privé Revaux in which every pair bought will provide a pair to someone in need, Culpo has spent nearly a decade helping others.

Now that we're in a global pandemic, her desire to be more charitable has only been fueled—so she partnered with Express and Feeding America to create a collaboration that would benefit others. "A lot of people [living] in poverty can't afford their next meal, so I decided to partner with Feeding America," she says. For every mask sold, $10 gets donated to Feeding America.

Olivia Culpo Express Together Polka Dot Face Mask
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Apart from taking care of others, Culpo has also spent time during quarantine taking better care of herself. "I've been traveling less than ever, so I've been spending time with the friends and family I don't normally see a lot," she says. "I feel like in a lot of ways I'm playing catchup—things that I haven't done in a very long time are now available to me."

One of the activities Culpo's been indulging in is pizza-making with her family and friends. "I love it, since everybody can join in and it always tastes amazing," she explains. Additionally, she shares that the ideal pairing to her cheese pizza is a glass of wine. This is perfect for the former Miss Universe, since she recently partnered up with wine brand Folonari

The Italian brand has a curated collection of reds and whites that come in cans and bottles with twist-off caps, which, in our humble opinion, is a dream. She loves light white wines over heavy reds, explaining that red wine makes her feel tired. "Now we have a little bit more time to curate our lives, and for me, that means looking up recipes and pairing them with the right wine," she says. 

Apart from pizza-making, Culpo adjusted her life in several other ways, too. Notably, she's been taking care of her new toy goldendoodle puppy, Oliver Sprinkles. "Go get a dog," she says. "It's the best time." (And if you can't, follow Oliver Sprinkles on Instagram for constant serotonin boosts.)

Charity work, making pizza, being a dog mom—how does she do it all? No dream is impossible if you believe in it. Culpo is a fan of journaling every day and creating vision boards. In fact, she made one a few years ago about being in Sports Illustrated, and now she's celebrating being on its cover (talk about manifestation!). "I like to see my goals in front of me, whether I'm writing them down or printing out pictures that resonate with me. It helps."