Olivia Culpo admits she was 'really nervous' leading up to 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit photo shoot

Olivia Culpo is set to appear in the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, but the former Miss Universe admits that although it was her second time around, the days leading up to the photo shoot was still nerve-wracking.

Speaking to Fox News, the 26-year-old dished on the details surrounding the upcoming issue, which is set to be released on May 8, and how she gets swimsuit ready.

"It was amazing," Culpo recalled. "There are some pretty cool photos where it looks like I'm just being covered by a snake, so I think the photos are going to be awesome."

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The model-influencer, who hasn't seen "a lot" of the pictures yet due to SI Swim not showing "looks until they're ready for everyone to see," added that posing for this issue was "one of the most unforgettable photo shoots" she's ever done.

Asked if she ever gets nervous before a shoot, Culpo admitted that there are definitely some nerves.

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"When I was holding the python I was definitely nervous and then I'm really nervous just leading up to it because I want to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to feel the best and hopefully make the best picture," she explained. "So there's a lot of pressure for sure."

To feel her best, Culpo said she follows a "really strict diet."

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"No sugar. No carbs. No alcohol," the brunette stunner revealed. "Basically, all protein and fiber and the only kinds of carbs I'll have is sweet potato or greens or fruit."

As for the first thing she splurged on after posing for this year's SI Swim issue? "Honestly, I think it was wine," shared Culpo, who added that she typically leads a "lifestyle that's balanced" or what she refers to as the "80-20 rule" when she's not prepping for a shoot.

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"I really don't believe in dieting. I notice that when I have a shoot coming up or when I'm being really diligent about my diet, I can pretty much do it up until the day or two before and then I start to go crazy, and basically like self-sabotage myself. As soon as I tell myself I can't have sweets then I really want sweets," she explained.

Culpo — she loves indulging in ice cream, pizza "and/or" alcohol — also credits her fitness routine in allowing her to splurge whenever she wants.

"I love working out. I feel like if I didn't work out as much as I did, I probably wouldn't be able to get away with eating the way that I eat, so for me it works out well."

Another aspect that is super important to Culpo when it comes to feeling good is a beautiful smile.

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"For me, I've always tried to do everything I can to achieve the brightest smile that I can — and I try to think of taking care of my teeth not only as something for dental reasons but also for aesthetic reasons as well," the model, who recently partnered with Colgate Optic White, revealed. "Obviously, whiter teeth leads to a brighter and better smile and Colgate Optic White is the best that I've ever used."

When it comes to dealing with critics on social media, the influencer —  who has 3.9 million Instagram followers — admits that it "can be really, really difficult."

"I definitely see a lot of my friends who are in the public eye struggle as well or get wrapped up in it and it's hard not to sometimes lash out at people or ask them why they're saying certain things," Culpo explained. "But I've honestly been able to develop some pretty thick skin and I have a really great support system as well and the way that I think of it is if there's anything I ever really needed to know, good or bad, my friends and family who actually know me will tell me that.

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"So when I read mean things online, I don't take it seriously, I really just try to ignore the noise — that's my phrase — because you can't really control what other people are going to say and a lot of the times they don't know you at all."

In keeping with her positive mantra, Culpo just focuses on those who inspire her.

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"I always feel really inspired when I know that I'm able to communicate with my fans and young girls. I feel like even when I'm having the hardest days, just knowing that I'm able to connect with so many other women and inspire them just like they inspire me — the idea of empowering other women and also being able to be empowered by other women — makes me feel more confident and inspired every day."