Model Olivia Culpo on life in Charlotte with Panthers’ CMC

Model Olivia Culpo on life in Charlotte with Panthers’ CMC

Photo courtesy Olivia Culpo

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Olivia Culpo has a lot of titles. She’s a Sports Illustrated cover model, former Miss Universe, restaurant owner, and an influencer in the fashion and beauty space with a following that’s more than 4M strong.

You’ll find the 28-year-old playing Gretchen in the upcoming TV show “Paradise City,” which will stream on Amazon Prime at the end of next month.  She’s also the creative director for VIDE, a canned cocktail brand that serves up ready-to-drink vodka sodas.

And if you’re a Panthers fan, you may also know Culpo as Christian McCaffrey’s girlfriend.

Her newest title to add to her repertoire though is one we all have, too: Charlottean.

We caught up with Culpo to find out how she’s liking Charlotte so far, the latest on her many projects, and if she and Christian have picked up any new pandemic habits like the rest of us. Banana bread, anyone?


How are you liking Charlotte so far? Have you found any go-to spots yet?

I love Charlotte! I’ve discovered some of my favorite people, workouts, and food here. In the short amount of time I’ve spent here, I can already feel how quickly this city is growing and I’m excited for it all.

My favorite restaurants so far are Flower Child, O-Ku, Kindred, Fahrenheit, Jack Arnold’s BBQ, Flour Shop, Village Juice Co., and Chef Sam Diminich who partners with local Charlotte farms to provide farm-to-table meal service. (Editor’s note: Diminich is also Christian’s personal chef!)

Sorry, this feels like a laundry list, but that’s just the kind of girl I am. If I love something, I stick with it and want to tell everyone I know about it.

What has it been like trying to keep up with your career amid the pandemic?

Thank God for Zoom! I spend so much time on virtual meetings now. We did all of the fit meetings for Culpos x INC and More Than a Mask over Zoom, and even did taste testing for my cocktail company VIDE over Zoom!

I love how laid-back Charlotte feels. I think in a way it helps me concentrate more on work. Being in a super crowded and busy city like New York and L.A. can definitely be fun, but also a little distracting and overstimulating at times. Charlotte hits a nice middle-ground for me.

Do you and Christian find yourselves developing any new routines during this time?

I’m really grateful for the amount of free time, honestly.

It’s been so nice reading, journaling, cooking, listening to my favorite podcasts, etc. Throughout quarantine, there was definitely a lot of show binging, which I never ever do. And yes, that included “Tiger King.”

What are you most excited about post-pandemic?

I’m most excited to travel! There’s nothing like exploring and immersing myself completely in a different culture. I definitely consider myself a homebody, but I’ve been itching to explore something new.

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You’ve got so many projects in the works! Let’s start with your line at Macy’s, Culpos X INC collection. What’s it like working with your sisters?

The process was so fun for us as a family. There were pieces we disagreed on, but somehow we always found a middle ground. Don’t get me wrong, we argue a ton, but we always wanted this line to represent our differences as well as similarities. At the end of the day, we have a lot of respect for everyone’s individual style and wanted to make sure we all felt heard.

Do you have a favorite piece?

I have the hardest time picking one piece because I swear it changes day-to-day, but I honestly live in the teddy sets and the t-shirt dress! I wear them to bed, to run errands, and to work from home.

I love the versatility of pieces from the last drop also. We have long sleeve garments that zip off into short sleeves, pants that zip off into shorts, etc.

Any memorable moments during filming for your first TV show Paradise City?

I loved the pace of it. I was initially attracted to the incredible cast and storyline, which is based on “American Satan,” a film I shot two years ago. I think my favorite moment was shooting in really iconic L.A. venues, like Rainbow Room and the Roxy. I also got to play my cello in a few scenes, which was very cool.

And how about VIDE, the canned cocktail brand? What made the brand a natural fit for you?

I think this was a natural fit for me, as I’m someone who enjoys letting loose and having a good time, but also wants to wake up feeling energized and ready to take on the day. VIDE feels very guilt-free to me. I love the idea of having this kind of balance in my life.

As someone who also battles endometriosis, I love your vulnerability on the topic. Any tips for someone who was recently diagnosed?

First of all, getting diagnosed is the first step, so great job speaking with your doctor to figure out what is going on. I was misdiagnosed several times, so I really appreciate women who are able to advocate for themselves and not take “no” for an answer.

I am so indebted to my doctor, Dr. Smitha Vilasagar. She’s based in Charlotte and took such great care of me. On that note, I would definitely advise women to make sure they are in the right hands.

Do your research and make sure you and your doctor are on the same page as far as your long-term fertility goals. This surgery is so important to get at the right time, and suppression through birth control is another huge part of its success.

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