You are the only person who has the ability to truly know your goals, so it’s important to keep moving in that direction and listen to yourself. MR: You grew up in Rhode Island and your parents are musicians — what kind of music do they play? Do you like it? OC: My parents met at college during orchestra. My mom plays the viola professionally and my dad plays the trumpet. I grew up with classical music constantly blaring and all of my 4 siblings play a different instrument. It was definitely a really loud house! MR: You play the cello — do you still play often? If so, how does that influence your life? OC: I still play the cello a lot. I love how it can completely take me out of reality and ease my mind. It is the number one thing that helps me when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I try to practice as much as I can and it’s always awesome when I can somehow incorporate it into work. Last year I actually recorded the cello on a track produced by Snoop Dog. That was so cool. I also performed with ASAP Ferg for a holiday special. MR: How is your relationship with your parents? OC: I’m so close with my entire family. We certainly know how to get on each other’s nerves, but at the end of the day, they are the most important thing to me. I try to spend as much time with them as possible. MR: I read that your parents didn’t approve of pageants at first. How do they feel now? OC: My parents were so scared at first when I entered Miss Rhode Island. They thought it was narcissistic and out of character for me considering I had never done anything like that before. They thought I should be on stage performing the cello with an orchestra, not participating in a pageant. Now they are much more supportive and understand that I was working toward something.
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MR: Do you have any advice for young people whose parents don’t support or believe in their career choices? OC: Every person is going to face challenges seeking dreams regardless of what anyone else says or thinks. It’s something that is completely unavoidable whether it’s coming from your peers, parents, or even strangers or often times from inside yourself. You are the only person who has the ability to truly know your goals, so it’s important to keep moving in that direction and listen to yourself. I always think of it as having blinders on. Staying focused on the goal and not listening to outside or inside judgements. Also, when it seems too tough to continue, I try to put attention on what is working and my successes and this keeps me positive and excited to stay on my journey. MR: What do you say to critics who say that beauty pageants foster competition among women instead of camaraderie? OC: I find that women can be supportive of each other or competitive. I choose to actively be supportive and help promote women in everything I do. MR: As someone who went to an all-girls school and entered pageants (now you’re going to be on E!’s Model Squad), you have a lot of experience with relationships with women. What is the most important thing about relationships between women? OC: My female friends, my sisters and my mom are such a big part of my life and have made such an impact on who I am today. When I need advice, when I need a shoulder to cry on, when I need a pep talk, I typically go to some of the females in my life. I trust them and their opinions. I try to be as honest and communicative as I can in all my relationships and that can really help foster a real relationship.