The 24-year-old model talks growing up feeling like an outsider, coming into her skin and how she plans to stay healthy in the new year

By Kaitlyn Frey
Updated January 03, 2017 10:30 AM
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Credit: Mike Rosenthal

Real talk: everyone goes through that childhood awkward phase, even a former Miss Universe. Before Olivia Culpodominated the beauty pageant scene and became a social media style star, the 24-year-old admitted she was a “late bloomer” in her cover story for the January issue of Ocean Drive magazine.

“As a little girl, I was really chubby. I don’t think kids know anything about diet, so I’m sure I was eating whatever I wanted to. And on top of that I was not athletic,” she told the magazine. “I was definitely more into the arts. All of a sudden, I got really tall and lean. After my crazy growth spurt, I looked like a completely different person.”

On top of that, Culpo says she felt like an outsider due to her early passion for the cello (it’s what she did in the talent portion of the Miss USA competition!).

“In high school, the cool girls didn’t understand why I would always play my cello because they thought it was dorky. I remember wanting to hang out with my friends after school and my cello wouldn’t fit in their car, so I could never go home with them. There was a lot that set me apart,” she said.

That’s changed in the years since: “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,” the star added. “[But] at the time, I thought it made me the biggest loser on the planet.”

And now that she’s comfortable in her own skin, she does whatever she can to stay that way, with a focus on her health. “I don’t think it means you have to be any particular size. It’s different for every person. I am not super strict, but if I have something coming up and I know I need to be in bikini shape, then I will amp up the diet and the exercise,” Culpo said. “Naturally, I prefer to eat pretty healthy, but I am not the type of person who will count calories.”

The model and Instagram haven does have one beauty secret she doesn’t break to keep her skin naturally glowing – even without makeup. “I drink about a gallon of water every day,” she said.

Did you have an awkward childhood phase like Olivia? Share your stories below.