Thursday, June 6, 2013 | 4:36 p.m.
2013 Miss USA at Buca di Beppo
No good deed goes unrewarded! Action-movie hunk Jason Statham surprised the 2013 Miss USA Pageant princesses Wednesday night after they’d spent time packaging 19,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now’s campaign to feed the needy of Haiti. Additionally, “The Bachelorette” contestant Bryden Vukasin dropped in to surprise the glamour girls at their Buca di Beppo welcome dinner.
Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart, who also oversees the Miss USA Pageant, arrived from pageant location meetings in Russia along with reigning Miss USA Nana Meriwether, the 6’ beauty from Maryland who took the title when last year’s winner at Planet Hollywood, Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island, won the Miss Universe Pageant here.
Planet Hollywood founder and Buca di Beppo owner Robert Earl was with Caesars Entertainment head honcho Tom Jenkins. But all eyes were on Jason, who had just wrapped his new movie “Heat” with the final seven days of location shooting in Las Vegas. Incidentally, Jason, while in town dined at the new Nobu Caesars Palace.
Twenty-three-year-old Chelsea Caswell, a Wynn F&B manager at Andrea’s in Steve Wynn’s Encore and Miss Nevada USA 2013, was charmed by the British actor’s appearance. “He’s a real movie heartthrob hero. I think every one of the girls here was wowed by him,” she told me after being photographed with the movie star.
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his wonderful photo gallery and to videographer Richard Corey for his YouTube coverage of the contestants.
Nana and 31 of this year’s contestants had started their day working alongside 100 volunteer Venetian and Palazzo team members packaging meals for Stop Hunger Now. The food charity is fighting to end world hunger by providing meals for developing countries and needy families.
The group packaged nearly 19,000 nutritious dehydrated meals of rice, soy, vegetables and 21 essential vitamins and minerals. Nana said: “What a difference teamwork can make — 18,702 meals packaged up by the Miss USA contestants for Haiti in three hours.”
Photo shoots and TV location filming on and off the Strip continued unabated with appearances at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Caesars Palace and his BurGR at Planet Hollywood, where the chefs demonstrated the art of pudding shakes.
At Buca in advance of Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, Miss Florida USA 2013 20-year-old Michelle Aguirre and Miss Texas USA 2013 Ali Nugent, also 20, showed their basketball skills. In the NHL, things remain undecided for the Stanley Cup Finals, so Miss California USA 2013, 21-year-old Mabelynn Capeluj, and 22-year-old Stacie Junis from Illinois, rooted for their L.A. Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, while Sarah Kidd, 20, Miss Massachusetts USA 2013, and 26-year-old Jessica Billings, Miss Pennsylvania USA 2013, rooted for their Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins.
It was a fun night for the official welcome with all 51 contestants making new friends and being pitted against one another other to see who could best twirl spaghetti, balance the half-pound meatballs on a fork and tackle the giant ice cream sundaes. The glamour girls had no problems bulking up on the carbs. “This won’t even begin to put back the weight they’ve lost running nonstop since they arrived six-days ago,” one of the Miss USA wranglers told me.
“It’s been nonstop with photo shoots, wardrobe fittings, hair and makeup for swimsuit and glamour shots, plus, all the location filming in Las Vegas. They have another three days of this brutal schedule, and then Monday the rehearsals for the live show get underway simultaneously with the judges interviews.”
Today, the contestants take part in paddleboard races hosted by Nana at Go Pool at the Flamingo. In their new ViX swimsuits, they’ll attempt to stay balanced while dodging waterfalls and competing in opposing teams for a water soaker fight. On Friday, they have a 90-minute meet-and-greet with fans at Fremont Street Experience. Saturday night, they party at Pure in Caesars and Sunday take part in a Best Buddies Sock Hop with the Opportunity Village Elvi, with a volleyball and parachute contest, as well.
The preliminary competition begins Wednesday, and then Donald Trump will arrive in time for the NBC telecast of the 62nd Annual Miss USA Pageant at PH Live in Planet Hollywood on Father’s Day on June 16.
Keep checking back to Vegas DeLuxe for our continuing and extensive photo coverage.
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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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.