"It's honestly something that I've always dreamed of since I was so little."
Olivia Culpo has earned the top spot in Maxim's annual Hot 100 list, which celebrates powerful, head-turning women in pop culture.
Culpo, who was crowned Miss Universe in 2012, described the honor as a dream com true.
"It's honestly something that I've always dreamed of since I was so little. It's really humbling," says Culpo. "There are so many women who have been in this same position before that I have looked up to for so many years. I thrive off the success of other women because a win for one of us is, in my opinion, a win for all of us."
The 27-year old, who boasts more than 4 million instagram followers, has embraced the title of “social media influencer" and hopes to inspire others along the way.
"I hope that [my female followers] take inspiration from it," Olivia said. "That's why I look to a lot of people on Instagram. I enjoy being able to see what they're doing and how I can maybe do something similar. If they're working out a lot, it's like, ‘Oh, I wanna try that workout.'"
She continued, "It's difficult when you have to just smile and pretend it's okay when maybe you're personally going through a lot."
Culpo also shared the following message on IG: "I’ve always looked at the Maxim Hot 100 with admiration. There have been so many smart and successful women featured who have inspired me and my career in countless ways which makes this cover so meaningful to me. It still doesn’t feel real! Thank you so much @maximmagfor the opportunity and to all of the people who worked on this with me."