Naturally, we have all sorts of reservations about embracing the Miss Universe pageant and all it represents — Donald Trump runs it, it sets a bad example for little girls about beauty mattering more than brains, and all that stuff. But today we’re putting those aside, because we really feel OK embracing the newly crowned Olivia Culpo, who came up from the ranks of Miss Rhode Island and Miss USA, actually seems like a pretty cool girl … in addition to being drop-dead gorgeous in a bikini and an evening gown, of course, and maybe possibly winning the heart of one Mr. Ryan Lochte. Here’s our logic:
1) She’s the first Miss USA to earn the title since 1997 and the first Miss Rhode Island to win it ever. We think New England deserves some good news this week.
2) She’s a music geek. She’s played the cello since age 6, performed at Carnegie Hall with a youth orchestra at age 12, and went to the same music camp (Brevard, in North Carolina) as some of our own friends. Watch her play a bit here.
3) Miss Rhode Island was the Boston University student’s first-ever pageant, and she entered it wearing a dress she rented for $20 on Rent the Runway.
4) She’s not fancy. She told Shape that her biggest craving during the Miss USA contest was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
5) She believes transgender women deserve to compete in the contest too. “I feel like in America, we all have the right to be happy and the right to live freely, so that’s how I stand on it,” she told BU Today. “It all goes back to the foundation of this country and freedom of choice.”
So, congrats, girl! We fully encourage you to celebrate your victory with a certain Olympic gold medalist soon — just ’cause we’d love to see those photos.
We’re still not sure if Ryan Lochte is actually dating Miss USA Olivia Culpo or if the two are just enjoying each other’s company enormously during New York Fashion Week. What we do know, thanks to an interview with E! and another VH1 News’ Janell Snowden, is that she seems like his ideal woman.
“I want a girl that can actually take care of herself that’s not always looking for me to take care of them, they can hold their own,” he told VH1. “And if a girl can make me laugh and smile, because that’s what life is all about is just having fun, so if a girl can do that to me, I’m sold.”
And you may recall that his words to E! about Olivia included mentions of her “great sense of humor” and how impressed he was that she won Miss USA after just a year of participating in pageants. It’s meant to be!
Meanwhile, after seeing Ryan out and about at the shows all week long, sporting various forms of subdued, casual menswear, we wonder what fashion item gives him the most confidence when he heads out into the world. One of those great leather jackets he’s been wearing? That grill? His Speedo? Nope. “My watch,” he told Janell, showing off his blingy Breitling. “I designed this. I got it custom-made with black diamonds.” And how much does that bit of confidence set you back? “About 60 grand.”
Olivia, if you ever want a break from making Ryan laugh, we’re next in line. Here’s a closer look at that watch: Read more…
Since Ryan Lochte is planning to launch his own fashion line soon, it makes sense that he’s all over the runway shows of New York Fashion Week. But now we’re kind of wondering how much he’s actually studying the fashion and how much he’s studying the ladies near him in the front row. But that’s his job too now, right? His antics with Prince Harry practically proved he’s ready to be American royalty, and thus we are obsessed with matching him up. How fitting, then, that the latest object of his attention appears to be Miss USA herself, Olivia Culpo. The pair were first spotted together last week, at a show for Evening Sherri Hill, and later that night at 1Oak. “We just met last week, so I can’t say anything for that, but he’s a good guy,” she told reporters.
But Ryan was even more effusive about the beauty queen when E! caught up with him yesterday, when he was again snapped in the front row with Olivia. “She is beautiful. I love hanging out with her. She has a great sense of humor, she makes me laugh, she’s just a good girl to hang out with,” he said. “She was telling me yesterday that she had never done a pageant until like a year ago, and now she’s Miss USA. She’s got something.”
Wow, those were a lot of words coming from the notoriously brief interviewee, which means either he’s getting better at this, or he’s in loooove.
And in other news, he made some great faces with Tyra Banks…
[Photo: Getty Images]