Saturday, January 09, 2010
Sashes, a NIKOLAKI Gown, and Michael Phelps? Crowning Moment: Miss CA USA 2010 with Rita Verreos (my sister) in a Nikolaki gown, handing the bouquet A couple of months back, in November, the Miss California USA 2010 Pageant took place. Keith Lewis, its director, asked me to be a judge but unfortunately "duty calls" and I had to fly to Miami to film one of my Sears Holiday Gift segments for Despierta America. But my sister, the lovely Rita Verreos was there. Meagan Tandy, Miss CA USA 2007 and Rita Verreos at the recent Miss CA USA 2010 festivities My sister, who was a former Miss Venezuela contestant "back in the day"--is now a very sought after Pageant Coach. She has helped many a hopeful Miss California USA contestant to walk, talk and act like she already has the crown on her head. This year, the pageant was held in Rancho Mirage at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa. Of course , the Miss California USA Organization and Keith Lewis have been in the news as of late because of all the events surrounding Carrie Prejean, her eventual dethronement, and all the subsequent backlash. So, more than ever, a lot of people's eyes were on this pageant.Crownin' and Sashin': Rita Verreos, in ivory Nikolaki gown, stands onstage at the Miss CA USA 2010 PageantBack View: Rita Verreos in Nikolaki gown, Miss California USA 2010 Pageant For the pageant, my sister wore one of my NIKOLAKI gowns of course--an ivory silk crepe column gown with a draped bust and embroidered back which I designed years ago ("vintage" Nick Verreos). Nicole Johnson, Miss California USA 2010 The winner of the Miss California USA 2010 Pageant was a 24 year old from Ventura County named Nicole Johnson. She's very pretty and has a resemblance to singer Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls. She does come with a bit of gossip as well (it wouldn't be Miss California USA without it!): She used to date Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. I'm sure this little bit of dish might bring some added attention to her when she goes to Las Vegas for the 2010 Miss USA Pageant in April. Or maybe not. My pageant spies told me that the actual crowd favorite was former UCLA Bruin Women's Volleyball player, six foot one inch tall Nana Meriwether who represented Beverly Hills. And the Winner Is: First Runner Up Nana Meriwether (left) and Miss CA USA 2010, Nicole Johnson (right) The "pageant talk" was that Nana had everything: The stunning all-over beaded open-back gown, the poise, the DIVA walk. Who knows why she didn't get the top crown? Maybe next year she will be the winner (they can try again and again in the Miss CA USA rules). Speaking of gowns, from what I can see in the photos, they looked quite nice. At least there weren't too many clear stripper heels and I-just-bought-this-in-Santee Alley Downtown LA dresses. Except... Ironically enough, the winner's dress was, to put it nicely, not so good, if not the worst. From looking at these photos (see close-up above) and from reading the blogs of guests who were there, Nicole's burnt orange/red halter gown looked ill-fitting and a bit on the cheap side. Maybe for the Miss USA 2010 Pageant, she'll give this one to "Pageant Goodwill" and her First-Runner Up, Nana Meriwether, will let her borrow hers. Good Luck to Nicole and the rest of Keith's Miss CA gals! *A Special 'Thank You' to Husam Abedaker for some of the photos used here.