June 3, 2012
SATURDAY IN LAS VEGAS
The rehearsals are completed and the semi-finalists are selected so it’s all about putting the final touches on the Miss USA Pageant this evening here in Las Vegas. Planet Hollywood has been overrun by sashes and tiaras as the pageant world has gathered in the desert to select our national champion. Saturday was a very active day on several fronts as the year long search is almost complete. Fifty contestants from each state and one from the District of Columbia compete in the NBC-televised 2012 Miss USA Pageant at Planet Hollywood, where 2011 Miss USA Alyssa Campanella turns over her crown to the new winner.
Once again for our delegates it was all about one last day to perfect everything needed for the live broadcast. Our Miss Florida USA 2012 Karina Brez is ready to take on the country as she was very involved in all portions of the rehearsals. The sessions were closed to the public in the morning as Donald Trump meet the delegates and greeted all fifty one. From 9:00am to well past dark went the sessions as they will have just one last session on stage as Sunday’s morning dress rehearsal will be open to the public.
Miss Florida Teen USA 2012 Sydney Martinez joined the forty delegates who were present for an all-day seminar that featured instruction to prepare them for their turn in the spotlight this upcoming July. We last saw Miss Martinez as she was headed for a bus tour of Vegas with her new friends. The evening concluded with a state directors soiree at the tres’ chic Opium Bar at TAO before heading home to get ready for the big day.
We will have results and pictures form the after party at the Palazo on Monday and a full recap of the festivities on Tuesday to conclude our reports. Also look late this evening for picture on our www.Flickr.com/MissFloridaUSA page. The only live state based blog from Miss USA on from your friends at www.MissFloridaUSA.com.
PAGEANT IN PICTURES: SATURDAY REHEARSALS
Miss Maine USA 2012, Rani Williamson; and Miss Florida USA 2012, Karina Brez; pose backstage during the final rehearsals
on Saturday, June 2 / Some of the delegates speak with Donald Trump during the final rehearsals
Miss Kansas USA 2012, Gentry Linn Miller / Miss Connecticut USA 2012, Marie-Lynn Piscitelli
Miss Michigan USA 2012, Kristen Samantha Danyal; Miss Connecticut USA 2012, Marie-Lynn Piscitelli; Miss Kansas USA 2012, Gentry Linn Miller;
Miss North Dakota USA 2012, Jaci Stofferahn; Miss Kentucky USA 2012, Amanda Ashlee Mertz; and Miss Texas USA 2012, Brittany Lynn Booker;
wait backstage / Miss Texas USA 2012, Brittany Lynn Booker; Miss Vermont USA 2012, Jamie Lynn Dragon; and Miss Utah USA 2012, Kendyl Carol Bell; pose backstage
Miss Minnesota USA 2012, Nitaya Panemalaythong
GETTING TO KNOW: MISS KANSAS USA
Growing up, Gentry Linn Miller used to watch the Miss USA pageants on TV and daydream about competing. Tonight, Miller, a Wichita native, will represent Kansas in the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas. Crowned Miss Kansas USA this past fall, Miller, 24, was not a regular pageant competitor as a child. Cheryl Miller, Gentry’s grandmother, enrolled her in dance classes in Dodge City when Gentry was 3 years old. Gentry was incredibly shy, so Cheryl put her in pageants as well. “She is who she is today because we did that,” Cheryl said. Gentry competed in pageants until she was 6 years old and didn’t compete again until her senior year at Wichita’s Northwest High School. That year, she entered a pageant because she wanted “one last experience” to give her some public speaking experience before college. She won Miss Kansas Teen USA and graduated valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA.
Gentry took another break from pageants while at the University of Kansas. She put herself through school with scholarships and grants and, in 2010, graduated with a 4.0 GPA. She was also selected to give the commencement speech for KU’s School of Business, “one of the biggest honors she’s ever had,” Cheryl said. A dedicated student, Gentry attributes much of her drive and studious nature to her grandmother. “I always talked about the importance of education so she could always provide for herself,” Cheryl said. “And she took it to heart.”
Cheryl, who adopted Gentry after her mother became ill and could no longer care for her, is proud of Gentry’s work ethic and how far she’s come. “I don’t care if she wins Miss USA; that’s not the point. It’s the experience,” Cheryl said. The two are very close and even share a duplex in Overland Park. “All my friends are like, ‘Really, you live with your grandma?” Gentry said. Tonight, more than 20 friends and family members, including Gentry’s grandmother, will be cheering her on in Las Vegas at the Miss USA competition. Gentry hopes to win but, if not, will continue working as a pharmaceutical sales territory manager selling glaucoma products for Allergen’s eye care division. Gentry, who lived in the Reflection Ridge area, considers Wichita a “great town to grow up in” and remembers going to River Festival concerts and movies at the Warren Theatres. She has no plans to move back to Wichita anytime soon but doesn’t rule it out. “I would come back to Wichita if my career path leads me there,” she said.