Nevadan at Work: Beyond glam and glitter, Miss Nevada serves community

Less than three years ago, Alana Lee would have scoffed at the idea of strutting on stage on a one-piece bathing suit.

Although two of her sisters had entered beauty pageants, her father had to give her a shove to try it. In quick succession, she won Miss Dixie State College, Miss Clark County and Miss Nevada in July. Next stop: the Miss America pageant at Planet Hollywood Resort in January.

To get there, she has had to drop an almost cavalier attitude to assembling an entourage to help her win. In the process, her bills have gone up.

She has hit the phones and worked connections to line up business sponsorships. She will continue to scout for companies that hope to be able to tie themselves to a possible future Miss America.

In the past two years, this and scholarships from winning have topped $50,000.

"This is by far the best-paying job I have ever had," she said.

Question: This feature is called Nevadan at Work. What is the work of being a beauty queen?

Answer: Oh my gosh, it’s more than you would ever imagine. So many people view participation in the pageant world, as we call it, as mostly the superficial stuff. You see all the gowns and the dresses, the cocktail parties, walking the red carpets, all these different things. But that’s really not it. That comes one week a year when you participate in Miss Nevada or Miss America.

The work really involves a lot of platform focus. The platform each person in Miss America has is a personal commitment to community service with a focus on what interests them. My platform is patriotism and Rock the Vote, youth voter registration. My motto or keynote phrase is, "Invest yourself in your community." That’s a lot of the work.

Plus networking. There are a lot of speaking engagements and performances and things like that, not to mention my preparation for Miss America. It is really pretty time-consuming, but it’s definitely worth it at the end of the day.

Question: The popular impression of a Miss Anything is someone who just walks the runway, wears the tiara and sash, waves and smiles. How can you change that?

Answer: Through my actions. If you see me at a City Council (meeting) receiving a proclamation, I am obviously doing more than riding in parades. The more people (that) see me in the community doing things that have nothing to do with the glam, the more they will understand that this girl has substance.

Question: You mentioned substance. Does it bother you that people think of a beauty queen as always speaking in clichés about how she will work to end hunger or …

Answer: (Achieve) world peace. A world peace initiative, right? Does it offend me? No. Because, you know what, I’ve only been involved for two years. I had that opinion just two years ago myself.

I can’t blame people for holding that opinion because that’s what they see. The people who make the headlines are the ones that have the dumb on-stage interview answers and the girls that have the scandals or something like that, so, of course, you would have that perspective. But that’s the difference between the Miss America pageant organization and other pageant organizations. Our focus isn’t on the superficial stuff. It’s on the community service, it’s on our scholarships. So our GPAs (grade-point averages) are more important than our waistlines.

Question: Is that how you get away with eating cookie dough as a hobby?

Answer: You know what, I need to hit the gym. At Miss America, it is important that you look nice, but it’s more important that you speak well.

Question: You said you got into this a couple of years ago. Isn’t it common to start at a very young age?

Answer: Toddlers in tiaras, yes. Honestly, I am still learning pageant stuff. There are so many different pageants around, I don’t even know half of them. I don’t know what it takes to be a Miss Junior Something Or Other. I’m still learning about that stuff. You could say I’m still naive in pageant world.

Question: To reach Miss Nevada, what did you do to try to win?

Answer: You have to not care. Honestly, that sounds ridiculous, but it seems the less I focused on the pageant itself, the better I got. I wasn’t trying to fit into their expectations. I can be a little rough around the edges. The Alana Lee that you meet in the first five minutes is the one you’ll know in five years.

But I now have a team of people helping me prepare and handling the appearance requests and the hospital tours. There are definitely a lot of people helping me out with wardrobe and how to walk and things like that because this is a larger scale and Miss Nevada will be Miss America-ready this year. Nothing will be overlooked.

Question: You said you get coaching in how to walk. How are you supposed to walk?

Answer: Miss America, in the past, has been very elegant and ladylike. She still is, but this is the 21st century. We are competing with different shows, different pageants. They say that Miss America is the girl next door and Miss USA (a pageant owned by Donald Trump) is the girl you wish were next door. You have to compete in that kind of environment. So now, you want to be a lady with a little bit of sexy to it, a little bit more coy.

Question: Is there a contradiction in going from not caring about winning to assembling a team to help you win?

Answer: Actually, it’s a beautiful transition. It’s streamlining the work … I’m going in with a motive, and that’s to become Miss America 2012. I want to be the best version of Alana Lee I’ve ever been. To get there I definitely need some help.

Question: What is your talent?

Answer: Singing. I am singing a song called "At This Moment," the Michael Bublé version. I’m really, really going to make an effort to make it a tear-jerker. I’m a communication expert. I want to relate to the audience like they are my friends and make them think they are walking in on a conversation with my former love. Or my love that is unrequited at this point.

Question: How do you pay for it all?

Answer: The dresses, the tan, the hair, the makeup. It all adds up, not to mention the transportation and the lodging. So I have a tanning sponsor, Endless Glow. I’ve got Wayne Newton museum and Wayne Newton himself. I’m working on getting some housing sponsorships. I’m still out there contacting businesses, lining up sponsorships and fundraising. I don’t want to be just the good, in-shape Miss Nevada. I want somebody to have their name on me and say, "This is our Miss Nevada. We support her and endorse her in general on a national spectrum."

Question: Do you sit at home and wonder you would do if you I win Miss America?

Answer: I’m not assuming that I will win. But if I were to win, how would Alana Lee be as Miss America? It would be incredible.

Question: How would you want to be remembered as Miss Nevada?

Answer: For more community involvement. I understand that in years past, we have had Miss Nevadas but no exposure so nobody knows about them. If you asked Joe Schmoe on the street, they would have no idea who she was. What I want to do is change that. I want people to know Miss Nevada.

Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at or 702-387-5290.

A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like