Miss Universe Organization
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 | 1:45 p.m.
Their smiles are 1,000-megawatts wide. Their makeup is magical and magnificent. Their hair is perfection personified. Their gowns are glorious and swimsuits sparkling and sexy. Welcome to the beautiful world of Miss Universe.
Meet 89 of the globe’s glorious girls, led by reigning Miss Universe Leila Lopes of Angola, who began arriving on the Strip on Monday for a nearly three-week stay at Planet Hollywood. They’ve flown in from as far afield as Albania, Argentina, Australia, Venezuela and Vietnam, with every country in between.
Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island, who won her Miss USA title also at Planet Hollywood, is back in Las Vegas for the second time this year -- check out our extensive coverage of her win.
The official welcome ceremony is Thursday afternoon at Planet Hollywood when all 89 beauties introduce themselves on the catwalk runway with a fashion show that’s open to the public. Their preliminary pageant is Thursday, Dec. 13, with the live NBC global telecast and crowning of the new winner Wednesday, Dec. 19. It will be themed to showcase the holidays as celebrated around the world.
Grammy Award winners Train will perform a special three-song medley during the swimsuit competition: “Drive By,” “Mermaid” and “Shake Up Christmas.” The official judges are yet to be revealed, but Bravo’s Andy Cohen and E! Entertainment’s Giuliana Rancic will again host the telecast to 100 countries. Fans from around the world can vote their favorite contestant into the semifinals of the pageant until Dec. 18 at MissUniverse.com and Telemundo.com.
It’s a dizzying round of nonstop duties for 20 days. Being this glamorous takes a lot of work! Upon arrival, they are matched with another competitor as their roommate and assigned a chaperone. The Miss Universe Organization has a doctor and nutritionist on duty to ensure no medical or dietary problems.
Today and Wednesday, the pageant princesses shuttle between hair and makeup chairs. They go through their wardrobes and select their Kooey Australia swimsuits. Photo sessions poolside and in the glamour studio by fashion photographer Fadil Berisha round out the day’s duties. Fadil has to shoot all 89 of the beauties in various poses (check out his amazing work at FadilBerisha.com).
Vegas DeLuxe meets with Leila tonight at hair guru Michael Boychuck’s Color salon in Caesars Palace with Hollywood stylist Laurent Downer from the Prive salons. The event also serves as an open casting call for the January Miss Nevada USA Pageant with executive director and TV personality Shanna Moakler. Reigning Miss Nevada USA Jade Kelsall and Miss Nevada Teen USA Katie Eklund also will attend the workshop of hair and color demonstrations.
This year’s Miss Universe Pageant was originally set to take place in the Dominican Republic but was moved at the last minute to Las Vegas after the Caribbean country failed to raise sufficient funding for the pageant’s overhead costs, travel and hotel accommodations. Las Vegas, which plays hosts to Miss USA and Miss America, immediately stepped in to solve the situation.
The eighth annual OutMusic Awards had been booked at Planet Hollywood for Sunday, Dec. 16, as the biggest night in gay music and entertainment featuring Love Darling, Jason Walker, Frenchie Davis and many openly gay recording artists and performers. Miss Universe Pageant contestants will work around the awards and start their onstage rehearsals Dec. 17 -- two days before the pageant.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.