Interview with Vizcaya Swimwear Designer and Miss Virgin Islands, Lisa Opie

Last spring, I got to meet swimsuit designer and this year's Miss Virgin Islands, Lisa Opie, while putting together the Her Campus Mid-Atlantic InterCollegiette Conference. Lisa is absolutely amazing-- smart, talented, and ambitious. She's currently raising money to go to the Miss United States pageant while preparing to launch her swimsuit line's store. I decided that I wanted to interview her for my blog! I get to meet so many wonderful people through business, friends, and pure chance, and it feels silly to keep them all to myself. Read on to learn more about Lisa Opie and her many inspiring ventures, and to learn about how you can help this recent grad and new business owner make it to the Miss United States Pageant!

I know you just graduated—what did you get your degree in? I graduated from VCU with a degree in Political Science with a concentration in public policy and a minor in History

I worked with you last spring to do a Fashion Show—Can you tell me more about your line? 
I draw all of my inspirations for my designs through my travels around the world. As of now I have been to over 30 counties in my lifetime and all of my designs carry something from a different culture. When my online store launches, you can notice that each bikini is named after a different culture or region. My designs target women between the ages of 18 and 28 that want to wear something a little more flattering and trendy than a typical bikini you can find at a department store. I have options for every preference, with different ranges of coverage, material and style. 
How did you get started on creating your own fashion line? 
I was inspired to launch Vizcaya Swimwear last year when I realized that I did not want to work for someone in an office job for the rest of my life. I love the fashion industry and I already established a network in fashion through modeling, so I decided the best way to make a lasting career in the industry for me was to create my own clothing line.

Do you have any advice for girls who might want to start their own business? 
1: Make sure you adore the industry you are going into. You need to be willing to dedicate your life to your new business. 2: Be realistic about your goals and your abilities. Its important to have an established network and sufficient funds to start a business. 3: Never give up. People will discourage at first, just stay focused on your business. When I first started my business the only two people who believed in me were my boyfriend and one of my favorite photographers, John Herzog. The rest of the support came after I became more successful. 

When did you start competing in pageants, and why did you get into it? 
I have only competed in three pageants. I started competing in high school because I was bullied and wanted to build confidence. I also thought it would help my self esteem. I think pageants are important for women to build skills that can be applied to the real world like interview, public speaking, poise, confidence, and community involvement. 

What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid? 
I always wanted to be a flight attendant, but I'm scared of flying! 

You’re currently getting ready to compete in the Miss United States Pageant for the Virgin Islands! What do you hope to accomplish while competing? 
Although many people think the most important thing is winning the title, I value the outcome of my preparation and the relationships I establish during pageant week. 
I get the most out of preparing for a pageant. When I prepare, I work out every day to make sure I'm in shape, practice for my on stage question, raise awareness for my platform, and brush up on my interview skills. 

I think that pageantry makes me a more well-rounded person. 

Post-grad life is really hard in this economy. You’re starting a new business, and you’re going to have to travel and get outfits for the pageant. How are you going to do it?  
Luckily, the economy isn't doing as bad in Miami. I have received several job offers here after graduating but I had to turn them down to focus on Vizcaya Swimwear.

If it weren't for the upcoming pageant, I would be able to live comfortably off my income from modeling and acting, but pageants are very expensive. I have to cover my entry fee, my ad page, all of my outfits for the pageant, travel costs, hotel costs, and meals while I am there. I am currently relying on a combination of sponsors, contributions from family and friends, and my personal funds to help me cover these costs. In total, I will be spending about $2,000 for my week at Miss United States. I am doing my best to raise as much of that amount as possible through, a site where supporters can securely contribute to my campaign. This site also allows me to offer different levels of sponsorship and rewards to go with each level. You can visit the page at: 

You’re a beauty queen, fashion designer, and model. Any other big plans launching any time soon? 
Right now, I have my hands full with the upcoming launch of Vizcaya Swimwear and the Miss United States pageant. I do have a few projects I am working on but I can't share any details yet :)

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
Graduating from law school

What life lesson have you learned through starting your own business and doing pageants that you wish someone had told you before hand? 
Keep personal relationships and business separate. 

Lisa Opie really needs your help to make it to the Miss United States Pageant! To help her get to Miss United States, please donate and share her fundraising page. If you can't donate, sharing the link on facebook and twitter would still be a fantastic way to support her! Post-grad finances are enough of a battle without throwing in pageant expenses and a new business, so please help her out! You should also check out her swimwear line, Vizcaya Swimwear. Their website has not launched yet (coming soon!), but you can still see photos, videos, and promotions through their facebook and twitter!

Send Lisa love on twitter: @Lisa_Opie
Follow her on instagram: @Lisa_Opie
Vizcaya Swimwear on twitter: @vizcayaswimwear
Vizcaya Swimwear on instagram: @vizcayaswimwear



  1. Replies
    1. Do you have a chapter at your school? I'm Co-President of my chapter :)

  2. New follower! I love and appreciate this post a lot, as I am also a pageant girl! However, she is competing for the Miss United States title, not Miss America and not Miss USA, there are HUGE differences between all of the titles and pageant systems, just to clarify. :] Looking forward to future posts!!

    With love, Ashliegh

    1. Thanks for the correction-- I wish Lisa had told me when she looked it over but I guess it slipped her mind with everything else going on. I don't know anything about pageants myself although a few friends have done a few pageants. It's all been corrected now! Thanks!

  3. Very interesting and original post! It really helps to tear down the stereotypes associated with pageant girls. I especially loved her answer to where she would be in five years - just a matter-of-fact "Graduating law school." She seems so driven and intelligent!

    ♥ Em,