8 DAYS: You are many things — model, beauty queen, actress, beauty and fashion influencer, cellist, TV presenter and humanitarian. Which is your favourite label/title and why?
OLIVIA CULPO: I think the most fun thing about my job is being able to do everything. I really can’t just pick one. I love breaking boundaries and doing things that are new and exciting.
How did you come to be involved with Skin Inc, a Singaporean beauty brand?
I love LED light therapy and when I found out Skin Inc had a portable LED light, the Tri-Light, I completely fell in love with the brand. Besides that, I love the Oxy-Recharge Bubble Mask, ’cos it’s great for exfoliating, adding oxygen to the skin, and helping it glow.
You’re also known for being able to do your make-up without a mirror, right down to lip liner and smoky eyes. Is there a trick to that or is it just practice?
I definitely think it’s practice. And muscle memory. I think some people just have a better sense of their face. (Laughs) They call it your third eye or something. But yes, practise looking in the mirror, and then practise looking away. It’s definitely useful! I can do my make-up on planes, elevators, walking, driving, all the time! (Laughs)
What’s the secret to great skin? Is it good sleep, good diet, good products, good genes or good sex?
Oh my gosh, I think it’s a bit of everything! Definitely good sleep, lots of hydration, and genetics, of course, is a big factor. The way you sleep also has a lot to do with it. And avoiding UV damage and proper skincare. And diet. And good sex! I think love and sex does a lot for your skin.
Being in the spotlight comes with its share of negativity. Does it affect you?
A lot of people thought I wasn’t fit to be Miss Universe ’cos I was the shortest ever [at 1.7m tall]. And also, I was the first American in 18 years. It was hurtful at the time, ’cos some people didn’t think I deserved it. But I think all I can do is be grateful for the opportunity, which I really am. Whatever you do, there’s always going to be a little bit of flak.
Do you feel pressure to look perfect 100 percent of the time? Your 2.3mil Instagram followers love your picture-perfect outfits and on-point makeup.
I think it’s valuable to let people know how you really get through things. Every now and then, I’ll try to let people know when I’m taking an Instagram break or I just won’t say anything and take a few days just to be by myself. It would be unrealistic to feel like you have to be perfect all the time, because nobody is.
What’s the longest you’ve been away?
Probably four days. My boyfriend [NFL football star Danny Amendola] doesn’t do social media at all, so that’s helpful.
Four days is like an eternity in social media.
Yeah I know. (Laughs) I think that’s definitely the longest.
Some celebs post #nomakeup selfies, or photos of them with skin breakouts, to show that they’re not perfect. Do you?
Well, yesterday I posted a photo without make-up and did a poll asked people if they preferred make-up or no make-up. They preferred no make-up!
Right. It’s like how guys tell you they prefer you without make-up but when you are all made up, they tell you, “You look so good!"
Oh my God, exactly! (Laughs) They don’t know!
Social media can provide a warped view of the world.
I get how people want to turn it off when it gets too much. For me, it can get overwhelming but not to a point where I don’t want to be a part of it anymore. I just take a break. I also keep in mind the younger generation and how they’re just looking at the highlight reel of someone’s life. That can make your life seem not so glamorous. But I always try to remind people that it’s not real life, and like you said, a warped reality and a filtered life.
So it’s about keeping a balance and taking small breaks?
That, and trying to change your perspective on it. Because as long as you understand it’s not real and that it’s a glamourised version of life, then I can take that and learn from it. I know that it’s not real life but maybe if I do what this girl’s saying she did, then maybe I can have a 12-pack of abs. (Laughs) I like to learn from it as opposed to letting it make me feel inferior.
Any tips for squeezing more likes from your Instagram pics?
Everyone’s following is different and so their strategies are different, but for me, people like when they’re learning something, they like to know where I am, they like to feel inspired, they like when my outfit is nice, they like it when I’m happy. Try to tell a great story. Anything that is more interactive, and the more life you can put into the photo, the better.
Skin Inc products are available at Skin Inc Concept Stores, Sephora stores, www.iloveskininc.com, www.zalora.sg/skin-inc and www.sephora.sg.
Photo by Ealbert Ho