Olivia Burns

More than 10,000 gorgeous women participated in a worldwide search for MAXIM America’s next cover model. Their readers voted in overwhelming numbers, with over 18 million unique visitors. Meet Olivia Burns, the winner of the first-ever MAXIM Cover Girl contest…

Even in a plain black sweater and jeans, it’s impossible to miss Olivia Burns, with her wide green eyes and pillowy lips. It’s hard to believe, then, that the winner of MAXIM America’s inaugural MAXIM Cover Girl contest almost gave up on modelling altogether. “I used to just dream of being a model,” says Burns, who lives in Wellington, Florida, “but I felt like you had to be really tall to do it.”

Fortunately for Olivia — and the rest of us — she didn’t give up. Last year, MAXIM U.S. went in search of the sexiest undiscovered potential cover models in the world, and put it to a vote. After a three-month public voting process, Olivia was crowned the first-ever winner of the competition, beating out over 10,000 entrants. It was the first time in America a leading national men’s magazine has selected a cover girl through a democratic vote. And US readers responded with fervor: The contest drew over 18 million unique visitors with more than 27 million impressions.

As the winner, Olivia received a check for US$25,000, an exclusive appearance on MAXIM’s cover and a feature spread in their magazine, all shot by legendary fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon. Each of the top ten runners-up will be featured on a page in a future issue of MAXIM U.S.. By all accounts, the contest was an enormous success, and more Cover Girl contests are in the works. Not only did they crown their first democratically elected cover girl, but the contest was also for a worthy cause: 25 percent of proceeds from the competition went to Homes for Wounded Warriors, a charity founded by former NFL All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen that builds handicapped-accessible homes for wounded veterans. But, it almost didn’t happen for Miss Burns. At 170cm, she missed the height minimum for certain modelling agencies, but thankfully, after speaking with local agents, she soon discovered that her stature was not a career-breaker.

“They said height isn’t everything,” she says. “Even though it was a little bit restricting, I was able to do a lot of print modelling.” The 21-year-old started modelling for apparel brands when she was 16 years old. Her mum paid for a photo shoot with a local photographer, and then things started to happen. “I’ve kind of forgotten about wanting to be tall,” she jokes. But as time passed, she shifted her focus to a career in real estate, and modelling became a side gig. One day in August changed everything for her: Oivia’s mother sent her the link to the MAXIM Cover Girl contest the day before it closed. She decided to give it a go and asked friends and family to spread the word.

Olivia beat out thousands of gorgeous women from around the world to take the crown. A friend contacted her to let her know she had won. “I was actually in disbelief,” says Burns, “because I wasn’t checking the page the last day and I had a friend tell me, ‘Olivia, you won.’ It was so crazy, and I was so excited. I was almost crying.”

Now she is thinking about pivoting her career into full-time modelling. And, as a MAXIM Cover Girl, she’ll surely have ample opportunities. One thing will stay the same, though: Olivia is an accomplished equestrian and plans to continue horseback riding. She competes six to seven times a year and rides at least five days a week. She also trains horses at her mother’s farm. Olivia goes to the gym almost every day to strength train and do cardio exercises, but she says riding helps her maintain her toned figure.

“It’s a totally different workout, and almost every time I go out there, it’s a full cardio workout,” she says. A self-avowed animal lover, Olivia works part-time as a veterinary technician and has fostered approximately 65 dogs with her mother. “It’s super rewarding because you get to save lives,” she says.

What’s more, Olivia adds that anyone she dates has to love animals — and yes, she’s single. “I do like someone who’s affectionate and shows they care and has time for me,” she says. “Someone that loves animals. Someone who’s laid-back and chill.”

She has an idea for the perfect date, too.

“I would love for someone to take me out on a boat for dinner,” she reveals. “That would be a dream date. I’ve seen that in movies and it looks amazing.” Take note, gentlemen. ■

Photographed By Gilles Bensimon Styled By Caroline Christiansson By A. D. Park Makeup, April Greaves for Art Department; Hair, Eric Jamieson for R+Co @ Art Department; Nails, Yuko Wada using Dior Vernis for Atelier Management

For the full article grab the March 2018 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.

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James Glickhenaus