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Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager Defend Olivia Culpo in Wedding Dress Debate

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager Defend Olivia Culpo in Wedding Dress Debate

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager have recently chimed in on the ongoing debate surrounding Olivia Culpo’s wedding dress.

The former Miss Universe winner, 32, stirred some controversy after marrying NFL star Christian McCaffrey in Rhode Island. Culpo’s wedding attire—a modest Dolce and Gabbana gown—was featured in a comprehensive Vogue spread. The dress itself was a long-sleeve white gown with a full-coverage crew neckline. Culpo told Vogue, “I didn’t want it to exude sex in any way, shape, or form.”

However, the wedding dress and Culpo’s minimal makeup sparked criticism online. Some internet users felt her look emitted “pick-me vibes,” a term for someone who seeks male validation. Wedding stylist Kennedy Bingham, known as Gown Eyed Girl, expressed her disapproval in a viral TikTok video. Bingham argued that Culpo’s comments about the dress suggested a “conservative agenda” and claimed the model was pushing an idea of what all brides should look like.

Content creator Jessica Weslie Arena also critiqued Culpo’s minimal makeup for the wedding, which lacked mascara, lip liner, or eyebrow makeup. Arena said in a separate video, “For Vogue to even point these things out just gave me such weird vibes. Because obviously Olivia Culpo did something in order to not wear mascara, in order to not wear a lip liner, in order to not wear a pencil on her eyebrows. Be so for real, Vogue. Stop being a pick-me.”

Despite the backlash, NBC co-anchors Kotb and Bush Hager defended Culpo. During the July 9 broadcast of Today with Hoda & Jenna, the co-hosts praised Culpo’s “classic” bridal look, calling it “stunning and beautiful.”

“We think she looks beautiful,” Bush Hager remarked. Kotb added, “I don’t like reading negative comments from trolls, I really don’t. How about that?”

Bush Hager questioned why online users believe they have the right to comment on how Culpo dressed for her own wedding. “One of the most beautiful women in the entire world!” Kotb said of Culpo, with Bush Hager jokingly adding, “People were down in their basement saying she’s too covered up. You can’t win.”

The co-hosts also noted that Culpo later “let loose and had some fun” at the wedding reception with two additional bridal looks. During the cocktail hour at Ocean House, a historic resort in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, Culpo changed into an off-the-shoulder, high-waist chiffon dress with a handmade silk flower on the neckline, another design by Dolce and Gabbana.

Her third and final bridal outfit featured a silk bodysuit with a mini cage skirt, adorned with handmade organza flowers, tulle gloves, and a satin flower choker.

“Everything’s beautiful, live your life,” Kotb concluded.

In response to online criticism, both Culpo and her husband defended her look on social media. Culpo commented on Bingham’s video, “Wow what an absolutely evil person you are. I hope no one ever tears you apart in this way because it’s extremely hurtful. I love this dress and it was everything I wanted and more.”

McCaffrey, the 28-year-old San Francisco 49ers player, also defended his wife, adding, “What an evil thing to post online. I hope you can find joy and peace in the world, the way my beautiful wife does.”

Under Arena’s TikTok video, which called Culpo a “pick-me” girl for her minimalist makeup choices, Culpo commented, “It was an interview… they asked me what my makeup was…”

Culpo and McCaffrey tied the knot on June 29 at Watch Hill Chapel in Culpo’s home state of Rhode Island. The star-studded ceremony included guests like Prince Constantine Alexios of Greece and Denmark, Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor, and various NFL players.

According to Vogue, Culpo’s custom Dolce and Gabbana wedding dress took months to design, featuring a modest neckline, long sleeves, a 16-foot lace veil, and a ball gown with a button-lined back and a dropped waistline. “I wanted it to feel effortless and as if it’s complimenting me, not overpowering me,” Culpo explained. “There’s so much beauty and simplicity.”

The couple sparked romance rumors in 2019 and announced their engagement in April 2023.

Source: Vogue, Today with Hoda & Jenna