May 24, 2012
MISS USA HOSTS SPEAK-OUT:
On Sunday, June 3, the 2012 Miss USA Pageant is going to broadcast on NBC live from the great city of Las Vegas — and there will be two people front and center for all the action in Giuliana Rancic and Andy Cohen. After years of the event not drawing as many headlines, these two infused a great sense of fun and energy in 2011 — and thanks to that (along with their status of two of TV’s best personalities), pageant head Donald Trump invited them each back for another go as co-hosts this year.
On Wednesday afternoon, we had a chance to talk with each of them about some of the work that is put into this spectacle behind the scenes — and just how involved Mr. Trump is with what they do.
Cartermatt.com – How do you both approach hosting a show like this? Do you handle the contestants in the same way as you would on “Watch What Happens Live!” or a red-carpet special, or do you have to change your style in any way?
Giuliana Rancic – Not really. I treat them like they’re Julia Roberts or Meryl Streep coming at me. I treat them just like they are any celebrity on the red carpet.
This is their moment! This is going to be one of the biggest moments of their lives to be live on NBC with millions of people watching them. Basically, it’s an event that they work their whole loves to get to. It’s such an exciting time for them, and I want them to feel like we are so excited for them and we are! We realize how incredible a moment this is for them, so I try to treat them just like they are any A-list celebrity that I’m interviewing.
Andy Cohen – And I [treat them] like any ‘Real Housewife’ or anyone that I’m welcoming into the clubhouse. One thing that both Giuliana and I have that is part of our approach is that when we did this together last year, we had so much fun with a capital F. We both love pageants — I think it was surreal for both of us [last year] that we were actually in the middle of a pageant and hosting it. You could tell watching the show that we were having a blast.
It’s fun — it’s just good fun.
So how involved is Donald Trump with this pageant when it comes to the show? Does he give you guys any sort of specific feedback or tips, or just say that you’re the experts and allow you to handle it?
Cohen – I didn’t get any feedback from him, but I trust he’s very involved. It’s his organization, the Miss Universe organization.
Rancic – I actually was a judge years ago for Miss USA, and I got a chance to spend some time with Donald there and last year [we also spent] a little bit of time [together]. He’s very involved. He loves this pageant. He’s a true pro. Donald wants everything to go off without a hitch, but at the same time he hires the right people to do the job. It’s not an easy job to get — you have to get Donald’s approval and blessing, and that is not easy. We’re very flattered that he trusts us, and he is always there, front-row center.
Afterwards Andy, I don’t know if you remember this, but they did call us and said that Donald was so happy with what we did and loved our energy. That was flattering because he’s a true pro and a perfectionist.
WEDNESDAY IN LAS VEGAS
Miss Connecticut USA 2012, Marie-Lynn Piscitelli; Miss Florida USA 2012, Karina Brez; Miss California USA 2012, Natalie Pack;
Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2011; Miss Alaska USA 2012, Jessica Kazmierczak; Miss Delaware USA 2012, Krista
Clausen; and Miss Alabama USA 2012, Katherine Webb
Miss Florida USA 2012, Karina Brez, walks the runway in
her Kooey Australia Swimwear
Miss Connecticut USA 2012, Marie-Lynn Piscitelli / Miss Oklahoma USA 2012, Lauren Taylor Lundeen / Miss Nevada USA 2012, Jade Ashley Kelsall
Miss Missouri USA 2012, Katie Kearney; Miss Alabama USA 2012, Katherine Webb; Miss Connecticut USA 2012, Marie-Lynn Piscitelli;
Miss Nevada USA 2012, Jade Ashley Kelsall; Miss Florida USA 2012, Karina Brez; Miss Delaware USA 2012, Krista Clausen; Miss Alaska USA 2012,
Jessica Kazmierczak; and Miss California USA 2012, Natalie Pack;
Miss Oklahoma USA 2012, Lauren Taylor Lundeen; Miss Nevada USA 2012, Jade Ashley Kelsall; Miss South Carolina USA 2012, Erika Powell;
Miss New Jersey USA 2012, Michelle Leonardo; and Miss Kansas USA 2012, Gentry Linn Miller, poolside with DJ Ikon
GETTING TO KNOW: MISS MARYLAND USA
Nana Meriwether of Potomac will compete in the 2012 Miss USA competition this year on June 3 in Las Vegas.
Patch wanted to know how Nana got started finding her passion. We asked her to talk a little bit about her success story and relay some advice for seniors in high school graduating this year and moving on to their next steps in life.
What are your favorite memories of growing up in Potomac?
"I will always cherish the sense of community and family in Potomac! I studied at UCLA and The University of Southern California in Los Angeles for college and post graduate premedical. When I came home for the holidays I could immediately sense the stark difference in lifestyle between Los Angeles and Potomac. Potomac will always be home and the closeness of the neighborhood will always conjure positive memories for me."
What are some of the most important lessons you learned growing up?
"Growing up I learned the importance of higher education. My father, now a practicing emergency room doctor, was the first African American to be admitted and graduate from Duke University and my mother holds CPA credentials and has a law and business degree. Despite growing up in segregated and adverse environments, my parents pushed forth and used education as the means to which they could change their circumstance.
The importance of education was passed down to me. From first grade through 12th grade I attended The Sidwell Friends School in Washington DC. The former school of Chelsea Clinton and Al Gore Jr. and the current school of the Biden grandchildren and the Obama daughters, I was pushed everyday in class to aspire to academic greatness.
After Sidwell, I attended Duke University, but soon transferred to UCLA where I studied political science with a focus in international relations. After UCLA, I was admitted to The University of Southern California where I completed post-graduate courses in premedical sciences. I am currently applying to medical school."
What inspired you into pageantry, and what do you hope to gain by it?
"I played volleyball for UCLA where I became a two-time NCAA All American and lead my team to a Final Four appearance in 2006. Following that I played professionally in Puerto Rico and was thereafter invited to Colorado Springs where I trained for the 2008 Olympics. I soon ‘retired’ from sport, but still felt a great need to compete in something.
I was turned on to pageantry by a friend. While living in California I competed for Miss California USA four times, placing as high as 1st runner up in 2010. In 2011, I returned home to Maryland after finishing courses at USC and decided to go at it one last time. My perseverance paid off and I am about to compete on the Miss USA stage June 3, 2012, live on NBC from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas!
What advice would you have for Potomac seniors moving on to the next steps in life?
I would suggest to them always give back and consider participating in community service. I co-founded a 501 © (3) international nonprofit organization called the Meriwether Foundation.
Now in of South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, we have started HIV/AIDS programs, food security, nutrition, organic gardening initiatives, water projects and we have even opened schools and clinics in several rural villages.
The most rewarding part of the nonprofit is that I help organize community service and mission trips for students to travel to our rural projects overseas. Students always think they are traveling to better other people’s lives but are unaware of the personal transformative power of giving service. The intangible gift students gain from giving back is life changing and priceless and my advice to youth whether it be through our programs or others is to always seek to provide service to others.