Former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo: I look up to the amazing women who turn their careers into businesses
American model Olivia Culpo chats to Katie Wright about her new collaboration with Huda Beauty and overcoming insecurities
When Huda Kattan started a company that is now valued at $1bn, the first product she sold, back in 2011, was false eyelashes.
Now Huda Beauty sells 20 pairs of lashes inspired by the world's most beautiful women, with one of the latest additions to that gorgeous bunch being model Olivia Culpo.
"I've always been complimented about my lashes because I do have really naturally thick lashes," she says, speaking on the phone from Los Angeles.
"This collaboration was perfect because (Huda and I) did already have a relationship, but we wanted to figure out something we thought would be interesting and new and fun and would also do well."
The first in the Shortie collection, the Olivia #18 isn't as long as the brand's usual high-drama style, making it ideal for beginners.
And Culpo has plenty of tips for those who are trying their hand at applying falsies for the first time.
"I always think of it like landing in aeroplane," the American, who hails from Rhode Island, says. "You basically have to come from above when you're putting it on and just land it softly on top of the lash.
"Another secret is letting the glue get tacky. You don't want it to go on too soon because you don't want it to be really wet.
"And then another trick is bending the lash so you create a little bit of flexibility. Then it's more in line with the shape of the eyelid, instead of just putting it on straight."
Having flown to the Huda Beauty HQ in Dubai to work on the product development, the 27-year-old has had a taste of the entrepreneur lifestyle and says she would like to follow in the footsteps of Kattan by starting her own cosmetics brand.
"I think that Huda's an incredible entrepreneur," she adds. "She's created such an unbelievable empire and she's always surprising everybody with her content and her products.
"I also look up to a lot of other women who have brands and who have turned their careers into more of a business.
"Like Victoria Beckham, for example. I also really admire Gwyneth Paltrow with Goop. Those are a few of the guys I really look up to - they're all amazing women."
The one-time Miss Universe - she took the title in 2012 - currently has fashion collaborations with American brands Express and Revolve, and she's branched out into acting with a number of movie roles.
Modelling remains a big focus, however - Culpo has just made her second appearance in the coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, sharing the steamy pictures with her four-million Instagram followers.
The former pageant queen wasn't always so confident about her appearance, though, having suffered with cystic acne in the past.
"Right now, it's pretty under control, but I used to have terrible cysts on one side of my face," she says. "They were so painful."
Now she's trying to embrace going make-up free, even on social media, or when there's a chance she'll be snapped by the paparazzi. "I definitely have had times where I've felt insecure, because I'm not wearing any make-up, but I'm trying to get better about that and be a little bit more comfortable in my own skin," she says.
"I think there's a struggle, because you want to be relatable, but then you also don't want to look awful. I try not to worry about it too much."
Olivia’s top five beauty must-haves
1. Dr Barbara Sturm face cream, £132, Space NK
"With skincare, sometimes I'm more diligent than other times. I love Dr Barbara Sturm face cream. I like it because of the consistency. It's really easy to put on."
2. Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula, £87 for 30 treatments, Cult Beauty
"The Dr Dennis Gross pads are kind of like a peel for your face, but for at home, so they're really easy to use - they're just wipes for your face."
3. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, £24
"On a day-to-day basis, I prefer to keep my make-up simple because I wear a lot of make-up for work. I usually just wear a tinted moisturiser and I curl my lashes, but sometimes I really don't do anything. I like Nars concealer because it's got great coverage."
4. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow Light to Medium, £49
"I love the Charlotte Tilbury Bronze and Glow because the highlighter is incredible."
5. Dr Dennis Gross DRx SpotLite Acne Treatment Device, £58, Cult Beauty
"I do really love my red LED light - I think that works very well. It's really the only thing I do pretty diligently because red LED light stimulates collagen."