As was probably expected, it was a whirlwind homecoming for Olivia Culpo, the 2010 St. Mary Academy-Bay View graduate and Cranston native who last month was chosen as Miss USA during the competition held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas last month.
Ms. Culpo, 20, began her activities locally on Wednesday, July 4, riding in the annual Bristol Fourth of July Parade.
Thursday, July 5, Ms. Culpo returned to East Providence where she spent her high school days attending Bay View. Dozens upon dozens of fans turned out for the event, which was part meet-and-greet, speech and autograph session. Ms. Culpo’s family, including parents Susan and Peter, and friends were on hand as were several past and former Bay View students as well as school officials. Also in the crowd was Bay View alumna and 2007 Miss USA first runner-up Danielle LaCourse.
Ms. Culpo, 20, regaled the audience with thoughts about her days at the Riverside all-female Catholic school, saying it was the education she received at Bay View that has spurred her on to the success she currently enjoys.
“I would not be who I am today without the support of the Bay View community and the strength it gave me to become a confident woman,” Ms. Culpo said.
Advising current students at the school, she added, “Just appreciate the surroundings you have here at Bay View. I wouldn’t be where I am without my time here.”
A cellist and sophomore dean’s list student at Boston University, Ms. Culpo joked about a couple of mishaps she suffered along the way to her title. She told the audience of the time she sat in chocolate when wearing a white dress while waiting to do an interview during the event. And she also had a misadventure when she used a spray-tan product but then got caught in a rain shower.
No matter what happens, she said specifically to the young people in the audience, “with all the bumps in the road, just be yourself.”
Ms. Culpo, who was named Miss Rhode Island back in September of 2011, was scheduled to appear with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation’s Hope Bus at in Cranston Friday, July 6, where the city’s Mayor Alan Fung was to present her with the key to her hometown.
After a well-deserved break, Ms. Culpo, who was chosen Miss USA over a field of contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, will begin her preparations to represent the United States at the 61st Miss Universe pageant in December at a time and site to be determined. The venue and date will be announced by Miss Universe organizers by the end of the month. The Miss Universe title is co-owned by Donald Trump and the NBC television network.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience,” Ms. Culpo said of the world-wide pageant. “I hope I can do the best I can to represent not only the nation, but Rhode Island.”