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2013 Miss USA photos: Jason Statham welcomes contestants at Buca di Beppo


Tom Donoghue/

2013 Miss USA Pageant contestants dine at Buca di Beppo on Flamingo on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Planet Hollywood head honcho Robert Earl, Miss Nevada USA 2013 Chelsea Caswell and actor Jason Statham are pictured here.

2013 Miss USA Pageant: Buca di Beppo

2013 Miss USA Pageant contestants dine at Buca di Beppo on Flamingo on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Actor Jason Statham, journalist Robin Leach, Planet Hollywood head honcho Robert Earl and Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart also were in attendance. Launch slideshow »

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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