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As Miss Nevada USA Sarah Chapman ends her reign Sunday, she says the 24 women competing for her title and crown are “the best group of any pageant. … I’m glad I’m not competing against them this time around,” she told me. “They are drop dead gorgeous. All tall at 5-foot-11, all ethnicities, and in fact every guy’s dream girl will be on that stage.”
Sarah will co-host the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown pageant Sunday at 3 p.m. with 1995 Miss USA Shanna Moakler, who is the new creative director of the Nevada pageant. Then Shanna will be joined by local radio DJ Chet Buchanan for the 7:30 p.m. finals. Both events are at the Pearl in the Palms; Vegas DeLuxe posted the list of celebrity judges on Jan. 16.
Shanna said: “The panel of judges really has their work cut out for them. I honestly believe we have some girls who could truly take the national pageant. It is going to be a very fun and exciting time, and all the girls have worked so hard to compete.”
There are 24 blondes, brunettes and redheads in contention for the Miss Nevada USA title and simultaneously 12 hopefuls in the Miss Nevada Outstanding Teen Pageant.
“I have to make my farewell walk and farewell speech just before I crown the new winner,” Sarah said. “It’s not sad because I’m looking forward to all the things to come. I won’t have time to even think about the reign change because I will be helping the girls backstage.
“We have had Tony Dovolani from ‘Dancing With the Stars’ teaching them best stage presence and how to strike a pose after going through the onstage walking patterns. We have an opening dance number -- not too technical! -- and he’s also been guiding them with that. Our orientation was Jan. 15, but rehearsals are all day today.
“The local Miss Nevada Pageant has a whole new look and approach this time. It’s ambitious and modeled after the national pageant. The judges will have all their one-on-one interviews all day tomorrow, and then they’ll finish their voting with Sunday’s onstage production and that make-it-or-break-it question.”
Celebrity hair guru Michael Boychuck, who is judging along with pal Vince Neil from Motley Crue, told me this morning, “I’ve seen the photos and this is going to be difficult. I will be looking at everything -- and of course the hair. But you want to select the girl who is the total complete package in every way.”
Sarah, who continued her full-time duties as a pre-school principal in Henderson while Miss Nevada, summed up: “This has been an amazing year for me with incredible opportunities, but every person has a season for everything in your life, and now I am ready for the new experiences of a new season. It was the best year of my life, and I walk away with great experiences. I learned new qualities. I learned to roll with the punches and to go with the flow, however unexpected. I became far more comfortable and confident with myself, and I believe I could now be successful in any situation.
“I am going to be equally as busy now as I have been as Miss Nevada. I am joining the staff of the Miss Nevada Organization to help prepare the new winner for the national Miss USA Pageant in June. There are rumors of it remaining in Las Vegas or moving to Miami, but nothing has been officially announced. However, I get to go with her to root her on.
“My new focus, though, will be a series of children’s books, and my goal is to now get them published this year. They have all been written to give an early childhood education about manners, virtues, caring for one another. This next year is going to be just as exciting as it was as Miss Nevada. My advice to the new girl who takes over from me is to put as much time and effort into this experience as possible and make every opportunity count for the future.”
The contestants’ after-parties are at Moon on Saturday and the Playboy Club on Sunday, both at the Palms. The judges’ after-parties are at the official grand-opening celebration of 1 OAK at the Mirage with Katy Perry, Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton on Saturday and the Bank in the Bellagio on Sunday.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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