By MICHELE GRAHAM
Photography by CHICHI UBIÑA
Hair by Piero Pirri
Fashion by SAKS FIFTH AVENUE, GREENWICH
In its 60-plus year history, Miss Connecticut has been crowned Miss USA only once. If Olga Litvinenko has anything to do with it, that’s about to change. Olga is more new age entrepreneur than old school beauty queen … though there is no doubt she is truly blessed in the looks department. She’s a hard-working business owner, super involved volunteer and a marathon runner. Just keeping up with her can be exhausting.
Let’s take the title of Miss Connecticut. Olga says, “No matter where I am, what I am doing, whether I wear the sash or not, being Miss Connecticut is a full time job.” In fact, just getting to the state pageant and prepping for the upcoming Miss USA competition takes enormous fortitude. Aside from required appearances, Olga needs to cultivate sponsors to help offset the cost of competition. Fortunately, hometown businesses have rallied around Olga and been generous with both their financial support and encouragement.
What costs aren’t covered through sponsorships, Olga covers through her work, Olga and Company, a marketing and event planning enterprise. A background in PR and marketing along with years of competitions (Olga was also Miss Connecticut Teen USA in 2007) and promotional events provided the primer on what goes into successful corporate events and promotion. Her nascent company is always on Olga’s mind, thinking of creative ways to help her clients.
And speaking of creative, what’s that perfume? That’s what people asked Olga for years after she created her signature scent. Interest became so high that Olga finally said “Enough! I’m going to launch this perfume!” Olga is now in the process of securing her first round of investment.
You’d think there wouldn’t be time for much else, but Olga, the child of Ukrainian immigrants, was taught from an early age to give back. So Olga gives and gives of her time. Along with her state title, there’s another title she’s about to take on: president. Olga’s been involved with the T.J. Martell Foundation, which supports groundbreaking research for leukemia, cancer and AIDS, since her sorority days at Syracuse University. After college she joined the nonprofit’s ‘Next Generation’ Junior Board, which she will helm this year. But Olga’s sights aren’t just domestic. She’s also an ambassador and volunteer for The Edeyo Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the future for children in Haiti through education. And recently she’s become very involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and ran the New York City marathon on its behalf. And there’s even more.
This level of hard work and discipline is not always found in people of Olga’s age. “I stay focused and I have to make sacrifices,” says Olga. But she adds with enthusiasm, “I am fortunate to meet new people and travel. I look forward to representing our state and bringing the USA crown home to Connecticut. I feel blessed and honored and look forward to the year ahead.”