Designer Andrea Valentini celebrates win by Miss Universe Olivia Culpo; helped launch her career, face of AV Studios

PROVIDENCE, RI – There was much celebration in the home of Andrea Valentini, family friend of Olivia Culpo, as the Miss Rhode Island/ Miss USA was crowned Miss Universe – a first for the Ocean State.

Valentini who helped the Cranston resident and St. Mary’s Academy Bay View graduate launch her career in modeling and competitions three years ago, became the face for Valentini’s designs, and just last night captured the coveted Miss Universe title in Las Vegas.  This was a competition with more than 80 contestants from around the globe.

The Providence-based des igner urged Culpo three years ago to consider modeling – having professional pictures taken of her wearing Valentini’s award-winning designs in clothing, jewelry and handbags, in fashion shows and on her website.  Armed with professional photographs and modeling experience, she heeded the call to beauty competitions and quickly made a name for herself. In recent interviews, Culpo has credited Valentini with helping “kick-start” her career in modeling for special events and her website.  “That really got me more comfortable before the camera, she says.” (courtesy WPRI Rhode Show/July 2012.)

In recent months, Valentini and Culpo decided to take the beauty queen’s recognition even further by using Culpo as the face of the designer’s products.  The website homepage opens with an attractive holiday photograph with the Miss Universe casually displaying one of the designer’s high-end purses. Other links within the site and materials used by the studio feature the newly-crowned Culpo.

“It’s been such a short period of time that Olivia has gone from thinking about modeling, to becoming Miss Universe,” Valentini said. “I am pleased to have encouraged this talented and beautiful young woman who has such tremendous potential, and I’m delighted to be working with her and her family to help her achieve her dreams.”

Valentini, a successful interior architect, is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and an adjunct professor at that school. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, has had her work featured in leading publications and honored by national design entities, including Smithsonian/Cooper-Hewitt National Design Triennial 2003.  Her furniture collection – made of industrial materials – has appeared in international galleries, museums and fine-furnishing fairs in the US, Europe and Asia; and her expansion in 2002 into jewelry design, signature textile fabrics has garnered her larger audiences.

She currently produces a line of products including jewelry, soft goods, furniture and clothing, and her handbags have been called “a cross between Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade,” by New York critics. Her designs have captured the attention of other famous people, including Kanye West, President and Mrs. Obama, John Mayer, and has a line for Eric Clapton. She says, “By mixing materials like Italian leathers and industrial contract fabrics, I am bridging the gap between industries to create products that transcend the worlds of fashion and architecture.”

Valentini is noted for her commitment to sustainability of materials and to charity – often donating proceeds of sales and goods to such organizations as the Susan Komen Foundation and  American Red Cross.   Valentini was the recipient of a Providence Economic Development Partnership loan, has a small staff and works with area manufacturers and distributors. For more information visit

Designer Valentini readies Miss Universe Olivia Culpo for photos

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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