Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 | 3:58 p.m.
2016 Miss Nevada USA Pageants at UNLV
“It’s unreal — I am in shock. I can’t believe I won,” 23-year-old Las Vegas model Emelina Adams, nickname Emmy, told me seconds after the tiara was placed on her brunette locks Sunday night as the new 2016 Miss Nevada USA at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall at UNLV. “It’s going to take until tomorrow to sink in, but I am so excited. The tiara is so beautiful.”
Our thanks to Richard Corey for his YouTube video of the pageant and contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo coverage.
Seven Hills Teen Carissa Morrow won the Miss Nevada Teen USA title and will fly to the Bahamas for the Miss Teen USA Pageant early next year.
Emmy entered the pageant in May and began her preparations in June. “This is my third pageant. I entered Miss Nevada USA in 2014 and made Top 10 for my first pageant right here in this same UNLV theater,” Emmy told me.
“Last year while I was attending the University of Arizona, I was first runner-up in the Miss Arizona Pageant. So this third time is the charm if it’s really true that I won Miss Nevada. I can’t believe it.
“I’m happy to be back home in Nevada. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor of arts pre-law and psychology. I wanted a typical college experience, and I love traveling.
“I spend a lot of time mentoring younger children on a weekly basis in a local program called Spread the Word Nevada. I help them with their reading, concentration and comprehension skills.”
One of the judges, Nia Sanchez, who was the first-ever Miss Nevada to be crowned Miss USA in 2014, told me: “The judges made the right choice with Emmy. She’ll make a great Miss Nevada with all the right qualities.
“She will do our Silver State proud. I put her No. 3 when I first saw her, but then from the moment she stepped onstage tonight with her beauty and personality and effervescence, she went right to No. 1.”
Fellow judge hair guru Michael Boychuck told me: “I picked Emmy right from the start. She had all the qualifications. I’ve been right with my picks as a judge of this pageant for the past five years, and I knew that I would be right again.”
Emmy will represent Nevada at the Miss USA Pageant next year to be broadcast on Fox and probably from Baton Rouge, La. She will attend the upcoming sister Miss Universe Pageant at Planet Hollywood also on Fox on Sunday, Dec. 20.
2015 Miss Nevada USA Brittany McGowan, who was sponsored by Chateau Nightclub at Paris Las Vegas, had the audience laughing just before she crowned Emmy: “I had two goals this year. The first was to represent a realistic image of beauty, one that inspires girls to feel comfortable with who they are and be proud of the things that make them different.
“The second was not to trip on the Miss USA stage. I’m proud to say that I stayed true to at least one of those goals. It has all been a dream come true.”
Brittany now goes on to film directing school in her pursuit of a Hollywood movie director career.
Sunday night’s pageant was hosted by 2011 Miss USA Alyssa Campanella, who revealed to me that she just became engaged to longtime Canadian actor beau Torrance Coombs (“The Tudors,” “Reign”).
Nevada Pageant Director and 1995 Miss USA Shanna Moakler commented: “My goal has always been to promote a program we can all celebrate, a program that unites the community and brings opportunity to the young women of Nevada.
“As the program has grown, it has changed the lives of young citizens. It makes me proud to show the country what Nevada is made of. Over the past six years, I have had the chance to work with so many wonderful titleholders.
“I have watched girls from their crowning moment transform before my eyes and grow into strong, powerful women. I know this year is no different. Nia went on to win Miss USA and became first runner-up at Miss Universe.
“Last year’s Nevada winner Brittany McGowan made Top Five in the national Miss USA Pageant. I have very high hopes for Emelina. She has everything it takes to win.
“I’m extremely proud of all of the girls who competed in Nevada this year. I think this may have been one of the most competitive years we’ve had, and it really could have been anyone’s crown.
“In the last four years, Nevada has produced a Miss USA for the first time ever along with two Top Five placements and a Top 10 placement, and I think we are on course to achieve that success again with our new Miss Nevada USA Emmy Adams. I’m thrilled to be working with her, along with our new Miss Nevada Teen USA Carissa Morrow.”
The D Las Vegas, one of the sponsors of the pageant, played host to Shanna, Brittany, 2015 Miss Nevada Teen USA Geovanna Hilton and several contestants when they met with owner Derek Stevens on Friday night. He joined them when they climbed over the new statue Mannekin Pis for photographs. Carmine’s in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace sponsored the judges’ official dinners.
Our congratulations to Emmy and Carissa, and good-luck wishes as they set out now on the path to the big prize.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years 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 Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.