Saturday, December 01, 2007
Last week, my darling sister, Rita (of Survivor: Fiji fame) was in Los Angeles training the lovely contestants vying for the Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA 2008 titles. She invited David and I to attend the finals, which were held at the historic Orpheum Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.

I wanted to attend the finals to support my sister, who looked absolutely stunning wearing one my NIKOLAKI gowns as she handed the bouquets to the Final 5. It was a nice surprise to see the beautiful Meagan Tandy, last year's Miss California USA, wearing the gown we designed for her when she competed (and received the 3rd Runner Up Title). Also in attendance were two Rita's castmates and friends from Survivor:Fiji, Michelle Yi and Alex Angarita. It was fun to watch all those girls whom Rita trained and to see her "stamp" of excellence in their walk, posture and presentation.

The pageant itself was actually an exciting one. Everything seem fine and normal. There were over 100 girls competing for both titles. I had my favorites including Miss LA who was a spunky Latina with a walk and a personality that could be seen from the nose-bleed seats at the theater. Miss Barstow and Miss Greater San Diego were gorgeous, the former being a dead ringer for Carmen Electra and Lauren Conrad of MTV's The Hills and the latter, a beautiful California blond who had "Miss USA" written all over her. These last two were the obvious favorites of the capacity audience at the Orpheum, as well.

It came as a shock then when neither of their names got called as the winner. This is went things got "pageant ugly". All one could hear were shouts of "Boo" and hisses from the entire theater when Miss Barstow was not named the winner. The sassy Miss LA, Christina Silva had been crowned the new Miss California. We happened to be seated directly behind the judges, which included last year's controversial Miss Teen USA, Katie Blair (from MTV's Pageant Place) who looked at the other judges with wonderment. There was some shuffling that had occurred right before the naming of the winners, by the judges' reps who were tabulating their scores. So there was obvious confusion, but besides this, everything seemed to be going according to a normal pageant script. I met the newly crowned Miss California USA as well as her family backstage and she was such a doll. She confided that she was a fan of Project Runway and loved the gown I designed for last year's winner and couldn't wait for me to design hers.

Cut to today. My sister calls me and tells me to go to to see the new pageant scandal: It has just been discovered that the judges scores were somehow "misread" by the accounting firm overseeing it and the winner was not the Miss LA, but in fact Miss Barstow, Raquel Beezley (the Carmen Electra/Lauren Conrad doppelganger) . At least this pageant scandal did not involve pepper spray or drug addiction. The lovely Christina Silva, Miss LA, was asked to give up the crown she just had for only 5 days and the crowd favorite, Miss Barstow now has been crowned the new Miss California USA. I am sure this is not the way she envisioned to be crowned the most beautiful woman in California. But, as they say, any publicity is good publicity. More eyes will be on her when she competes in next year's Miss USA and she will already be on the pageant radar.


Lori Escobar said...

Hi Nick

I saw you at a restaurant last week in San Francisco but did not want to interrupt you or disrespect your privacy, so I did not approach you. I did however, want to leave you a quick note to say I've always been a fan of your beautiful gowns.

About a year ago I attended your seminar regarding careers in fashion. Personally, I've been stuck in a rut in the legal field for some time now. Seeing you last week has reminded me to do something about this rut. I will begin some night classes in the Spring in fashion merchandising. So thank you for being an inspiration to me. You will always be one of my favorite designers. I wish you much continued sucess, both professionally and personally!

:) Your fan in SF

Anonymous said...

Complete disaster by MISS CA USA Org.

They need some electonic ballot system to avoid this mess.

Faster, cheaper and direct, no manual ballot.

The same they used in last year's Miss USA and Miss Universe.

Tom said...

How To Become A Contestant For Miss USA 2008...
1. Invest Millions of your mommy and daddies dollars to K2 Productions
2. Become personal friends with Keith Lewis ($$$$$) Sign up as one of his models at the The Moron Agency, I mean The Morgan Agency
3. Compete 4 years in a row in the Miss California USA Competition as Miss Barstow with mommy and daddy prancing you around like a puppet
4. Cry and complain to the higher ups that you did not win and make it clear how much money you put into Keith Lewis's mansion
5. Clearly fashion and style was not what the "judges" wanted in the winner. Hello have you seen pictures of Raquel's wardrobe. Talk about What Not To Wear!
6. Be mean and unkind to other contestants. Yes Raquel we all knew how unfriendly and cold you were not just this year but the years past
7.Go on Fox News, a nationally syndicated show, and answer questions in the dumbest way possible
(Please everyone go on You Tube and watch her interview, it really proves to me and many others that the competition was fixed!!!)
8. Work at a pizza joint
9. Have no sense of self -worth and lack in higher-education "I am a beauty queen, I am pretty, Save the Whales and Free Willie"
10. Do not have any future ambitions, goals, or education. Who needs it when all she has strived for and I quote
"It has been my dream my whole life to be Miss USA now I will. That's all I ever wanted"

You Just have to be stupid, make love to Keith Lewis (financially), look like a wannabe Barbie Doll and oh yes have one of the worst sense of style one has seen in ages. Who is your stylist? I realize Keith appeared on the oh so "classy" show Charm School but did he really need "Hottie" or "Buckwild" to dress you? Did you really think your evening gown was even appropriate? I mean yes it was for Prom 1994, it was hideous!

I end this by saying..
I support Obama for President because I believe he is the vision for change that the country needs and not the status quo.
I support Christina Silva as Miss California and Miss USA 2008 because I also believed she was the vision for change in the pageant institute and not the status quo.
But like everything in this world politics overrule.
Obama will lose to Hillary. Christina "lost" to Raquel. Need I say more.

Thank You! To all who will bombard me with your mindless commentary. This is America and I have the freedom to share my opinion.

P.S. Raquel, Obama is not a special pizza sauce topping, I just wanted you to know that. Also I would love to hear what you opinions are regarding this years election. Oh, what was that, you had know idea there was an election going on!?! Because your to busy training in Los Angeles. Well don't worry call Christina she can most definitely teach you. After all she did win Miss Congeniality 2008, something you couldn't achieve the four years you competed and she is a leader and not a follower!

No longer a supporter of the pageant institution

Anonymous said...

Why do you have the same smile in every picture I see of you?

It becomes quite monotonous and starts to become a sore for my eyes.

Anonymous said...

The Miss California officials are absolutely unethical, and deserve to be sued. Who is going to believe the story that there was a miscalculation? It is possible for the officials to prefer one minority ethnic group over another. I believe Miss Silva is correct in her observations that the officials were prejudiced. By all means she should be compensated for her duress. Next time, the officials will be more careful to come up with the better story ----- or better yet, they won't "mess around" with a Latina.

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