Olivia has the full attention of Joshua Grooms of the Landmark Bowling Alley in Peoria, Ill., where she sought residents' reactions to her 'Sex and the City' outfits in 2002.   (Photo: Anne Ryan, USA TODAY)

Olivia has the full attention of Joshua Grooms of the Landmark Bowling Alley in Peoria, Ill., where she sought residents' reactions to her 'Sex and the City' outfits in 2002. (Photo: Anne Ryan, USA TODAY)

Olivia's Miss America credential. The assignment "let me step into the hose and heels and beaded gowns as the hypothetical 52nd contestant," she wrote.   (Photo: Eileen Blass, USA TODAY)

Olivia's Miss America credential. The assignment "let me step into the hose and heels and beaded gowns as the hypothetical 52nd contestant," she wrote. (Photo: Eileen Blass, USA TODAY)

A star is born: Olivia on the set of 'The Today Show' for a day in the life of Kathie Lee Gifford in 2009.   (Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)

A star is born: Olivia on the set of 'The Today Show' for a day in the life of Kathie Lee Gifford in 2009. (Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)

Olivia gets some instruction on how to work a puppet on the set of 'Sesame Street' in Queens, N.Y., for a behind-the-scenes story in 2004.   (Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)

Olivia gets some instruction on how to work a puppet on the set of 'Sesame Street' in Queens, N.Y., for a behind-the-scenes story in 2004. (Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)

Olivia Barker, Journalist

A collection of greatest hits
from Olivia's fourteen-year career at USA Today:

Experiential/First Person

Miss America and me, the '52nd contestant'     October 19, 2002
   *Be sure to click on the behind the scenes slide show with commentary!

'Sex' doesn't play in Peoria      January 24, 2002

Cancer patient: Angelina Jolie isn't the brave one     May 18, 2013

 

Trend Stories

A concierge can take the guesswork out of social media     April 8, 2014

What makes a winning Oscar look?     February 27, 2014

Meet the new celebrity lifestyle gurus: Paltrow to Alba     June 17, 2013

Kate the great? Style-wise, it's up for debate     October 17, 2012

Marijuana's celebrity stigma goes up in smoke     April 3, 2013

You are not so formally invited with an electronic wedding invitation     June 5, 2008

At home: Doggone it, that pooch has a nice pad     August 24, 2007

'Hipster dads' trying hard to keep their cool     January 23, 2007

Hagglers gain the upper hand in a downbeat economy     March 16, 2009

Can summer camps revive the lost art of letter writing?     July 28, 2010

A coupon a day means you can put the scissors away     June 6, 2011

Dorms make room for designers' magic     September 3, 2012

Turns out, spelling can make a diffrence — er, difference     August 5, 2013

Ritzy RVs     April 6, 2001

 

Celebrity Interviews

Scarlett Johansson escapes the tabloid-gossip zoo      December 25, 2011

OMG! 'Gossip Girl' returns with more surprises, juicier drama     May 14, 2008

Lauren's interest in stars of all stripes keeps brand strong     November 19, 2008

Follow Kathie Lee Gifford's most egg-cellent adventure     April 15, 2009

Edie Falco is nursing two careers: Acting and mothering     April 11, 2013

Versatile star Gerard Butler's best role? Fun-loving guy     August 6, 2009

 

She enjoyed getting sassy/snarky in Entertain This!

5 ways Melanie Griffith can deal with that pesky 'Antonio' tattoo      June 6, 2014

Lessons learned from this week's Worst Style Offenders     July 11, 2014

 

These are some of her most creative reader engagement projects. She was the best at stuff like this:

Designer Mizrahi creates new style: USA TODAY couture     May 12, 2009

Hapless cook wins lesson from Martha Stewart     November 25, 2008

Marymount Designers, Gunn's top pick     March 21, 2011