Olivia Culpo And Yu Tsai Butt Heads On ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Edition Test Shoot On ‘Model Squad’

Olivia Culpo
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Olivia Culpo has wanted to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for some time now, and finally given the chance, things did not go so smoothly as was seen on the premiere episode of the new E! Network show Model Squad which aired last night. Photographer Yu Tsai is known as the gatekeeper of the annual issue, taking great care in choosing who will even get a test shoot for the iconic edition of the magazine. Tsai has been known to turn away some very famous models in the past that he felt didn’t have the right energy, look, or that he just didn’t like.

Tsai didn’t give the former Miss Universe a pass just because she showed up on time and is famous. He held the Rhode Island native to the same standards he demands of every other model, and it seemed to fluster Culpo, who is not used to that sort of treatment as reported by E! Online. The pair began their work together with a conversation about expectations, and when Culpo began supplying Tsai with “beauty pageant answers,” Tsai appeared unimpressed, and let Culpo know as much.

“I’m inspired by girls who show up on my set and bring me a new set of energy. I want to see it when you’re on set, that the confidence you talk about, it is not something that I’m gonna google and find. I want you.”

In the confessional, Culpo admitted she had been studying the poses of previous swimsuit edition models, and it was quite visible that she was thrown off balance by Tsai calling her out. It isn’t necessarily true that Culpo is a diva above taking criticism from professionals, it was more an issue of her not being used to it. As her fame has grown, Culpo has been the one providing advice and critiquing the performance of others, not the other way around. She admitted she was nervous before exiting the confessional and heading back to work.

When Culpo came out and asked Tsai if she should just do “Whatever,” Tsai lost it on her again, dressing her down in a particularly harsh — but many fans say deserved — manner, as she looked to her team of assistants for support.

“Not whatever, you’re gonna know what you’re gonna do and you’ll deliver it. Not whatever. It’s not about them. How do you feel? If you want them to judge should I hand a camera to them? Why do you care what they think?”

The episode closed out with plenty of tension lingering between Tsai and Culpo, but the odds are when the next episode airs tonight that somehow, everything will work out okay. Actually, it will be okay, because as she let slip to Page Six, the show will chronicle her entire journey of appearing in the magazine start to finish.