Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com
The 2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search world finals at Hakkasan on Saturday, June 14, 2014, at MGM Grand.
Monday, June 16, 2014 | 3:28 p.m.
Politics won out over pageantry when contestants from Russia and Ukraine were separated by all the other glamour girls in the lineup at the fourth-annual Tropic Beauty Model Search world finals at MGM Grand over the weekend.
Neither Ekaterina Tregubova (Russia) nor Alina Fednyshynets (Ukraine) made it into the Top 30, though, and it was an American brunette, Elizabeth Smith (#34) of Jacksonville, Fla., who walked away with the title, glittering crown and modeling contract for a shot at Hollywood stardom.
Elizabeth also grabbed “the best smile” award voted by the 99 other contestants.
After one year of photo and video submissions and statewide contests, the Model Search came down to 100 final contestants from as far away as Australia, Britain, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, The Philippines, Poland and Slovenia.
They all took part in the five-day pageant that kicked off at the D Las Vegas and SlotZilla downtown Tuesday night and included swimsuit judging at Wet Republic on Friday in MGM Grand and the final parade of pulchritude at nearby Hakkasan on Saturday.
Two local Las Vegas beauties, Karin Noell representing 1 OAK at the Mirage and Natalie Lawrence representing Liquid Pool Lounge at Aria, placed in the final Top 30.
Former winners Linda Zimany, 2013, from Budapest, Hungary, and Ligia Hernandez, 2012, from Venezuela took part as judges and presenters of the winners’ trophies.
Other judges included Hawaiian Tropic creator Ron Rice, yours truly, Las Vegas regular Joey Fatone of ’N Sync fame, action star Marcus Shirock (“Hercules”), “Master Chef” reality TV star Nanci Dahl, models Ashley Alexiss and Katarina Van Derham and “Gigolos” reality TV star Brace Land.
Elizabeth told me afterward: “I’m hoping this will lead to a full-time modeling career and then on to being a television host. It’s a wonderful opportunity that I never thought I’d ever get a shot at; it could completely change my life.”
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue of Donoghue Photography who was on duty at the final two judging events.
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.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Hakkasan Hakkasan is the new five-level 80,000-square-foot upscale restaurant, lounge and dayclub and nightclub in the MGM Grand that is opening April 18 in the space formerly occupied by Studio 54.
On the first floor is Hakkasan's main dining room, a Cantonese restaurant decorated with lattice cages. The eatery is set to open May 3 and will be captained by Chef Ho Chee Boon. It will serve dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The Las Vegas menu hasn’t been released yet, but the company’s other locations feature soups, small plates, seafood, meats, poultry, tofu and vegetables.
On the second level is a private dining room that will cater to diners with deep pockets. While the menu is the same, the room offers a panoramic view of the restaurant below.
The third floor brings the 10,000-square-foot Ling Ling lounge, an intimate nightspot that acts as a transition to the main nightclub upstairs.
Above that? Another club: Hakkasan’s main nightclub. Hakkasan’s DJ lineup will include some of the biggest names in the electronic music industry: DeadMau5, Tiesto, Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki. Other artists include Danny Avila, Dada Life, Bambi and Quintino.
And above it, the Pavilion, an Asian garden with its own bar and DJ.
Hakkasan’s nightclub will be open Thursday through Sunday, from 10 p.m. until “late.” Guests must be 21 years or older.
Cover charge and table reservation prices vary. Online tickets for upcoming events begin at $30 for general admission tickets for women. Charges for men presumably are higher but aren’t listed.
Reservations for the nightclub can be made at hakkasanlv.com or by calling 891-3838.
3799 Las Vegas Boulevard S. Las Vegas,
NV 89109 702-212-8804
Wet Republic Wet Republic – MGM Grand’s ultra pool – provides guests the ultimate nightlife vibe merged seamlessly with poolside pampering and relaxation. This adults-only playground features a 53,000-square-foot ultra pool and 2,500-square-foot open-air ultra lounge and is a magnet for partygoers, the glitterati and celebrities from around the world. World-renowned DJs spin beats under the sun while guests can retreat on a chaise lounge or daybed, under a cabana or in an exclusive VIP bungalow.
Cover charges apply pending day and special events. Guests must be at least 21 years old.
Resident DJs will be Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki and Tiesto. Ticket information.
3799 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas,
NV 89109 702-891-3563