Photographers’ cameras light up when Olivia Culpo enters the room. It’s easy to see why: the influencer and actress was dressed to the nines in a cropped Louis Vuitton jacket and miniskirt, paired with sharp Balenciaga leather pumps at the premiere of her new film “Venus as a Boy” on Monday during the Tribeca Film Festival. It’s clear Culpo is in a league of her own.
Though she’s a seasoned pro on the red carpet, Culpo admits her performance as social media influencer Ruby didn’t come as easily. Though the two share the same career and style, there’s still more to her than meets the eye. “It was not natural to me actually at all, because Ruby had a lot of baggage that I had to dig deep to try to express, and act,” Culpo exclusively told Footwear News at the premiere. “So, in a lot of ways I didn’t relate to her, but in some ways, of course, the similarity, having the idea that you make a living off of one thing, maybe I could definitely resonate in that way. But there were a lot of things that I had to learn about Ruby, and really research on my own. It was very different from who I am.”
“Venus as a Boy” finds Culpo playing Ruby, who’s grieving her father’s death while forming a new relationship with artist Hunter (Ty Hodges, also the film’s director and producer) — and he’s battling demons of his own. The Venice Beach, Calif.- and NYC-set drama also features a supporting cast including Trace Lysette, Estelle and Gilles Marini.
The former Miss Universe says the role’s most challenging aspect was anxiety that “everything’s going to come together” — though her passion for the project helped. “But honestly, I would say that’s how it is for every film,” Culpo explained. “Every project, you always want it to be as great as it can be, and you hold onto that idea, and you can stress yourself out. But I couldn’t have been in better company. We’re all stressed out on-set, for some of the time, but you love what you do and it doesn’t feel like work.”
For the premiere, Culpo’s leather Balenciaga pumps made a sharp statement with ruching and pointed toe-silhouettes. Similarly, the social media star has been seen in many standout shoes lately, from strappy sandals to fluffy slides. After posing for the cameras, she shared that comfort and versatility are key for her favorite pairs right now.
“I love these new slipper Gucci slides that I have, those are amazing. They’re the best shoes that I’ve bought in awhile — those are so comfortable, and they give you a little bit of a lift,” she discloses. “But I also have to say, I love Bottega [Veneta] shoes. Bottega kills it, they just kill it with all of their strappy sandals. They’re the perfect minimalistic style that goes with so many different looks. I like to wear my Gucci slides, I have Gucci slides that I wear all the time, too. Again, just comfortable, easy to travel and slip on, slide off, and go to Pilates in, for example. So, very versatile.”
As “Venus as a Boy” gains traction, Culpo’s also reflecting on her personal ties to the film. The Lost Ones-produced movie highlights social issues like racism and inequality, which Culpo says she learned more about through her role and working with Hodges.
“It was an honor to be a part of this project, and to lend myself to a film that has lent a voice to so many different things,” Culpo says. “I mean, among Pride and Juneteenth, this film speaks to so many things that I’m very passionate about, and I was able to tell a story through the lens of Ty, the writer, director, co-star. I loved every part of it, and I learned so much.”