May 23, 2012
TUESDAY IN LAS VEGAS:
It may well have looked like a day of decadence with drinks, dinner and dancing, but when TV cameras are rolling nonstop, it becomes hard work under the hot lights and 100-degree desert temperatures. The 51 contestants of the 61st Annual Miss USA Pageant that airs from Planet Hollywood on NBC on Sunday, June 3, on Monday began their first day of touring, filming, photography and rehearsals to kick off their two-week visit to Las Vegas. Before arriving here, 44 of the contestants, including our Miss Florida USA Karina Brez, were in New York City with pageant owner Donald Trump to promote the competition. While there, Jade took part in a Food Bank charity and appeared on “Live With Kelly” with the other glamour girls.
The rigorous Las Vegas schedule kicked into high gear, as four delegates were selected for TV spots at Iron Chef Kerry Simon’s KGB at Harrah’s. Other Las Vegas segments were filmed at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville casino bar in the Flamingo with 25 of the pageant princesses. Once the glamour girls completed their registration, it was off to hair and makeup consultations and modeling shoots with a new wardrobe and shoes. Valerie also captured during registration and Sherri Hill dress fittings Miss Arizona Erika Lane Frantzve; Miss District of Columbia Monique LaShone Thompkins; Miss Louisiana Erin Edmiston; Miss New Hampshire Ryanne Harms; and Miss Iowa Rebecca Hodge. Also, the behind-the-scenes action with makeup artists and Chi hair experts and the girls posing as goddesses at the Caesars Palace pool: Miss Kansas Gentry Linn Miller; Miss Oklahoma Lauren Taylor Lundeen; Miss Illinois Ashley Hooks; Miss Michigan Kristen Samantha Danyal; Miss Oregon Alaina Bergsma; Miss Texas Brittany Lynn Booker choosing footwear by Chinese Laundry; Miss Utah Kendyl Carol Bell being filmed by videographer Shane Richter; Miss Vermont Jamie Lynn Dragon posing at Caesars Palace; and Miss Texas with an Angelina Jolie show-lots-of-leg photo. On Monday night, the girls were dancing up a storm for cameras in chef Steve Martorano’s Cafe Martorano in the Rio; it was a sensible way to shed calories after enjoying his meatballs and other dining delights. 2011 Miss USA Alyssa Campanella, who has 12 days left now before she crowns her successor, signed Steve’s celebrity wall and a conga line around the tables. Thanks to Erik Kabik for capturing that party fun. Alyssa, who will shoot her final glamour portfolio with photographer Fadil Berisha today at Red Rock Report, said she’s booked a Hawaii vacation after the crowning with “Tudors” actor boyfriend Torrance Coombs, who has managed to keep their two-year romance on track despite her world travels. And then? “I go home to California and will resume modeling and then start thinking about possible entertainment career opportunities.”
THE PAGEANT IN PICTURES: PORTRAITS:
Miss Florida USA 2012, Karina Brez, poses for photographer upon arriving to
Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will
spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making
new friends while she prepares to compete for the coveted
Diamond Nexus Labs Crown.
Miss California USA 2012, Natalie Pack / Miss New York USA 2012, Johanna Sambucini
Miss Texas USA 2012, Brittany Lynn Booker / Miss Illinois USA 2012, Ashley Hooks
Chinese Laundry Wedge Run
Miss Washington USA 2012, Christina Clarke; Miss Florida USA 2012, Karina Brez; Miss Utah USA 2012, Kendyl Carol Bell;
Miss Pennsylvania USA 2012, Sheena Monnin; Miss West Virginia USA 2012, Andrea Rogers; Miss Connecticut USA 2012, Marie-Lynn Piscitelli;
Miss New Mexico USA 2012, Jessica Renee Martin; Miss Vermont USA 2012, Jamie Lynn Dragon; Miss Nebraska USA 2012, Amy Spilker; and Miss Kansas USA 2012,
Gentry Linn Miller; prior to the Chinese Laundry Wedge Run outside Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.
Miss Florida USA 2012, Karina Brez; and Miss Massachusetts USA 2012, Natalie Victoria Pietrzak; participate in the Chinese
Laundry Wedge Run outside Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino / Miss New Mexico USA 2012, Jessica Renee Martin /
Miss Missouri USA 2012, Katie Kearney, winner of the Chinese Laundry Wedge Run, Stewart Goldman, Executive Vice
President of Chinese Laundry and Emcee Dania Ramirez
Miss Nebraska USA 2012, Amy Spilker; and Miss Kansas USA 2012, Gentry Linn Miller
Miss Oklahoma USA 2012, Lauren Taylor Lundeen; and Miss Ohio USA 2012, Audrey Bolte; arrive at the American Brasserie
Miss Alaska USA 2012, Jessica Kazmierczak; and Miss Arizona USA 2012, Erika Lane Frantzve
Miss Nevada USA 2012, Jade Ashley Kelsall / Miss District Of Columbia USA 2012, Monique LaShone Thompkins;
Miss Arkansas USA 2012, Kelsey Dow; and Miss Hawaii USA 2012, Brandie Kapuaalohaakaua Cazimero;
Miss New Jersey USA 2012, Michelle Leonardo; Miss New Mexico USA 2012, Jessica Renee Martin; Miss New Hampshire USA 2012, Ryanne Harms;
Miss New York USA 2012, Johanna Sambucini; Miss California USA 2012, Natalie Pack; and Miss Colorado USA 2012, Marybel Gonzalez
INTERVIEWS AT RED ROCK HOTEL POOL
Miss Arkansas USA 2012, Kelsey Dow, takes a break poolside at the Red Rock Hotel / Miss Universe
Georgia USA 2012, Jasmyn "Jazz" Alexandria Wilkins; and Miss Alabama USA 2012, Katherine Webb
Miss Maine USA 2012, Rani Williamson; Miss Arkansas USA 2012, Kelsey Dow; Miss Mississippi USA 2012, Myverick Rashea Garcia; Miss Universe
Georgia USA 2012, Jasmyn "Jazz" Alexandria Wilkins; Miss Alabama USA 2012, Katherine Webb; and Miss Alaska USA 2012, Jessica Kazmierczak
GETTING TO KNOW: MISS CONNECTICUT USA
NORTH HAVEN — She’s leaving on a jet plane and she’s hoping she’ll come back again as Miss USA. Marie-Lynn Piscitelli, 26, Tuesday is headed for Las Vegas, Nev., where she will compete for the title of Miss USA 2012 against contestants from every state.
While becoming Miss USA has been a goal for years, she is using it as a stepping stone to her business career. She is a freelance makeup artist and hairstylist who one day would like to have her own nationally recognized brand of cosmetics. A member of the North Haven High School class of 2003, Piscitelli graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in accounting, then Bentley University with a master’s in taxation. She was working for Deloitte & Touche when she realized what she really wanted was her own business, so “Make Up by Marie-Lynn” or “MXML” was born.
Her mother, Francine Piscitelli, owns Allusions Hair Salon in Branford, and styling hair is “just something I picked up on. My mom taught me a lot. And, I have a friend who is a makeup artist who mentored me,” she said on a recent day at the home she shares with her mother, father, painting contractor Vincent Piscitelli, and brother, Nicolas, 22. She ran for Miss Connecticut USA five times before she won in October 2011. She said she is persistent. “I kept going for the crown. I never wanted to wonder, ‘What if? What if I did it one more year?’” She was Miss Connecticut Teen USA in 2001. In Connecticut, she says, people might be surprised that “beauty queens are driven, determined and have accomplished so much in life. I want to succeed in every goal I set.”
Piscitelli describes herself as “fun-loving” and “genuine.” She comes from a close-knit Italian-American family. “I love our crazy, loud family. I think that’s why I’m so passionate. I enjoy everything life has to offer and the lessons along the way,” she said. She is a strong advocate for fitness, believing that people have to find eating plans and exercise routines that work for them. For example, she lifts weights two to three times a week, noting, “It’s the best way to burn the maximum amount of calories.” She drinks protein shakes once or twice a day. “I’m a big salad eater. My go-to protein is grilled chicken. My mother has a way of grilling chicken that it tastes so good,” she said.
Miss USA will be telecast on NBC at 9 p.m. June 3 from Planet Hollywood & Resort Casino. Miss USA contestants spent three days on a media tour in New York last week, appearing on “Live! with Kelly,” the “Today” show and “Letterman,” among other appearances. Contestants met Donald Trump, owner of the Miss USA and Miss Universe organizations. Of Trump, she said, “I think he has some controversial opinions, but I think he’s a smart businessman, otherwise he wouldn’t have the success he’s achieved. For that, I respect him, being a business owner myself.”