If you can believe it—because we barely can—the holidays are almost here. And along with the merrymaking and eating comes the reality of party planning and meal-prepping. Stressed? Us too. That’s where Olivia Culpo comes in.
The former Miss Universe and up-and-coming actress is your go-to influencer this holiday season as the newest face of Stella Artois‘s ongoing “Host One to Remember” campaign, joining the ranks of Gina Rodriguez and Shay Mitchell to offer hosting tips and spread holiday cheer. From dinner parties to casual evenings spent cracking open beers by the fireplace, Culpo can make any wintertime celebration an Insta-worthy event.
Below, we speak with Culpo about planning for the holidays, her latest projects, and who she’s inviting to Thanksgiving dinner this year.
What makes a memorable event? What is the first thing you take care of?
The most important part is definitely getting the right group of people together. And for me what works is just the more, the merrier. I always just think that everyone should be invited, and there shouldn’t be anyone feeling left out. And then, those are how amazing memories are made in just mingling and good conversation. Of course, great food and drink are all a part of making a good party.
Is there one event you enjoy throwing the most? I know for me if I’m throwing an intimate, small dinner party, that’s where I shine as a host. What about you?
For me, I grew up as the middle of five and I have so many cousins, so many siblings, huge Italian family. So for us, I think the holidays, especially Christmas, is where we go all-out with dishes, we have everybody coming over. There’s so much food and that’s what I prefer: overabundance of everything, to the max.
Was there one event that you threw that you considered a huge win?
I think the event that I have coming up will be like that. I’m actually going to be in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and then I’ll be home by dinnertime in Rhode Island and it’s going to be at Back 40, the restaurant I just opened with my family. It’s going to be my whole family and tons of friends—right now we’re expecting 70 people. We’re going to be able to use the industrial kitchen!
The holidays are also an interesting time to bring around friends and significant others like your boyfriend, Danny Amendola! Will you be bringing guests to those gatherings, or are you very strictly just family?
Oh my Gosh, yes! It’s also strangers. I always meet people that I’m like, “Mom, who’s this guy?” But that’s how we are, that’s how we’ve always been. I’m getting driven from New York to Rhode Island on Thanksgiving, and I did that last year, too—my mother invited the driver, who I just met, to dinner. And I know she’s going to do that again this year. That’s just how my family is. We’ve always been inclusive, and there’s always more than enough. I can’t think of a time when they’ve been like, “No.” I don’t even have to ask.
Back 40 is just one of your exciting projects—you’ve also started focusing on building your acting career! Between films like American Satan, Reprisal, Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, and then Tired Lungs, how has it been introducing yourself into that industry?
These days, we’re in interesting times, so we can kind of do a little bit of everything. For a long time, I thought, “Oh, I was doing modeling, so I couldn’t break into acting.” And it was a little difficult, it really was, but I just had to study a lot, and I couldn’t give up, and I had to go to audition, and audition, and audition. It really is sort of a waiting game, and it’s a lot of time and practice and dedication. You can’t just think you’re going to go into a room and play the character. It takes a lot of preparation. The reason why I like it so much is because there’s always room to grow and always ways to get better, and that, for me, is so enjoyable. The parts I have coming up are exciting and I’m so excited, but I also know I’m going to watch them and think, “I have to get better at this, at that.” There are always ways to improve. But, if I were to give advice, it would really be not to give up and don’t think that it’s going to be easy. It’s really not. No matter who you are. You have to be able to really take and handle rejection and always wanting to be better.
And how is it to balance that part of your career while also maintaining your personal brand?
It can be tough, mostly because of location. When I’m on the East Coast or when I’m on location in other parts of the world, I can’t do my auditions for other jobs that I really want to pursue. It takes a lot of being in one place, which I’m really never at. So a lot of the balance is just juggling. And you just kind of have to push through. But I think for any job, when you choose to challenge yourself in different directions, you do have to learn how to balance and juggle.
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