We arrived in Las Vegas at just before midnight on Tuesday thanks to LA’s gridlocked traffic! We checked in, unpacked and went straight to bed!
Our first day in Las Vegas, we decided to go to the strip for a spot of shopping and general wandering. Vegas is one of those places where I could just spend the whole day aimlessly walking and being entertained. Everything is big and extravagant and totally over the top and even though you have a expectation that it’s going to be like that, it’s still just so overwhelming in person.
We started out at the Outlet Shops and then since we didn’t really need our hire car anymore, we dropped it off at Treasure Island and headed along the Las Vegas Strip.
A bit of shopping and some food through The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace then we made our way slowly down the strip to Planet Hollywood, the home of the Tatyana Store! The girls in the shop were all so delightful and helpful, I bought a couple of things and would have bought more if they had my size.
Then we went back to the hotel to freshen up, get changed and check out Frankie’s Tiki Room. Frankie’s is a hot spot for Viva attendees and even on Wednesday night it was busy. We splurged and bought the cocktails in the collectible ceramic tiki mugs (so much better than the other cheap collectible cups you get on the street) .
The drink were delicious, the decor of Frankie’s totally met expectations and we got chatting a group of really fun people from Canada.
If you are in Las Vegas, be sure to go for a drink there!
Afterwards, we made sure we ate some stromboli from the Italian place in the food court at the Orleans. We discovered it last time we stayed there and it had been two years of looking forward to it again…. mmmmmm such cheesy goodness!
It was a early start on Thursday as I had my photo shoot with Lars/Made In Eighty. I was so excited to see that he was shooting at Viva and booked him as soon as I saw. I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to shoot in so I took along 3 outfits- My custom gown by The Pretty Dress Company for the Miss Viva Las Vegas pageant, the Leopard Print Gilda Gown and a lingerie set from Kiss Me Deadly with a new Orchard Corset corset.
We ended up shooting all three and Lars was great to work with! We were shooting at a beautiful mid-century home belonging to a friend of his and the decor was gorgeous. I’ve already got back 2 edits and totally in love with the result… the man is a genius!
Once I was back at the hotel, I got changed and Matt and I caught up with some other Kiwi friends at Viva. We all hung out until the doors to the Vendor rooms opened at 5pm and then it was every woman for themselves trying to scoop up the best goodies before they were gone.
I had to rush off after 30 mins to the Arena next to the hotel for my interview with Bombshells and Dollies– a film crew documenting the Pinup Pageant.
After that was done, I then rushed back to the hotel (busy right!) to catch the end of the Pinup Girl Clothing Bowling event. I didn’t do any bowling but I did catch up with some friends and see one of my favourite ladies ever, the one and only Doris MayDay.
I wanted to catch Shelly Minson (who I’d met last Viva when we both shot with Switch Blade Betties) and her husband Lawrie play at Brendan’s Pub so after a quick outfit change into something more night time appropriate (the Black Monica Dress), Matt and I made our way to the Pub. They were fantastic and Shelley even gave me a shout out… such a sweetheart!
We met some of our friends Erica, Susan and Veronica there and caught another band in the ballroom before calling it a night. Seriously, it sucks not being a night owl at Viva (or being a big drinker!) but after getting up at 6am for my shoot with Lars, I was ready for bed by 11pm!
Sleep in! We lazed about a little bit longer on Friday morning, ordering room service and I even took a bath. The only major commitment I had on that day was the Meet and Greet in the afternoon with the other Pinup Contestants. So after a wander through the vendor rooms and purchasing a few goodies, I got changed (because it’s Viva and you can have as many outfits a day as you’d like!) and went to Brendans Pub again.
It was pretty nuts to turn up and have a line of people already waiting to come in and meet us all. The Bombshells and Dollies Crew had prints for each of us to sign and we were all lined up like mini- celebrities. It was such fun to meet so many fans and sign my prints… I think I need to work on my Miss Victory Violet signature!
It was also the first time all the contestants were in the same room at the same time together so we could finally all meet officially .
After the Meet and Greet, we all walked over the Arena for more filming. We had a really cute present from the producer of the Documentary but I won’t spoil it and wait until the document comes out.
It wasn’t until about 6pm that we wrapped up there so I scurried up to the hotel room, found Matt and got ready for dinner with a group of girlfriends. Lobster seems to be everywhere here in the USA, but back in New Zealand it’s very expensive so I had lobster for the first time at dinner with a delicious steak and a glass of NZ white wine… bliss!
The big day! Saturday at Viva Las Vegas is always the biggest day with hundreds of cars filling the parking lot, 20,000 people through the gates, a huge main stage with bands playing all day and more vendors to shop at!
Matt went to get us coffee’s and I went down to the Car Show for the opening at 9am. I wanted to figure out exactly where the Sort This Out Cellars Booth was for voting for the Pageant plus get in early at the Pinup Girl Clothing booth. My plan was to do my shopping in the first hour or two and then I could focus on campaigning for votes.
Matt was so good about running my shopping bags up to the room and making sure I had food and water. The morning blew by so fast with tons of fans coming up for photos and chatting to old friends and new.
Voting closed at 2pm and we needed to be ready to go on stage by 2.30 so Matt and I went back up to the room so I could get changed into my pageant outfit.
I had designed this dress inspired by a Zac Posen gown Dita Von Teese wore last year. The Pretty Dress Company kindly offered to make it. They recommended I go for a lighter colour so it would stand out on stage against the black backdrop… so this gorgeous blush pink it was!
The gloves are vintage ones I bought last time we attended Viva, the necklace and earrings I bought from Lovisa back at home.
I felt very overdressed walking back to the car show but I had a million compliments which helped to boost my confidence. By the time it was time to go up on stage, I was getting pretty nervous!
Rockwell called us up on stage one by one for our question and I was lucky last. My question was about what inspired me to start doing my own Body Confidence Seminars…. my voice and body was shaking (especially since it’s quite a emotional topic) and I felt like I bumbled my way through the answer a little bit but I spoke from the heart.
Rockwell announced the winners-
When I heard Rockwell say ‘the winner, all the way from New Zealand’ by heart skipped a beat. The crowd was already cheering and when she went on to say ‘Miss Victory Violet’, I couldn’t believe it. I had to really fight back happy tears, mostly regaining my composure while hugging the life out of poor Ginger Watson.
So many photos and hugs followed then we were taken off to do more filming for the Bombshells and Dollies documentary, The hours that followed that was a blur of excitement, cruising around the car show, two more outfit changes, lots of photos and some good food and drinks with friends.
I woke up Sunday morning pretty exhausted which frustrated me since I was still buzzing from the win… but all that sun and excitement the day before really took it out of me! And to be fair, we probably weren’t drinking nearly enough water since you had to buy it bottled from the hotel shop.
We decided against going to the pool party, I had a photoshoot at midday with official Viva photographer Tim Hunter anyway and I felt like more sun would make me feel worse (vampire much?!)
We also needed to sort out our luggage since Sunday was the last day we would be able to get to the Business Centre in the hotel during it’s opening hours. I had bought over a lot of stuff for Viva and the competition plus purchased a few new things so we needed to send it all home- there’s no way we wanted to carry it around the world with us for another month!
We were floored with how much the quote was so ended up spending a big chunk of the afternoon researching other options (boring!). In the end, we made the decision to just suck up the cost and move on from it. Unfortunately by that time however, the Business Centre had closed and so we had to cancel our Grand Canyon tour the following day so we could go back during their opening hours.
Anyway, back to the fun stuff! Later that day, we headed for the Jiving Competition. This was one of the highlights of the weekend for me last time we were at Viva so I definitely wanted to watch again. This year we were early enough to get a seat which was perfect and I really enjoyed watching everyone!
After the Jiving, we met up with friends for a game of bowling and then it was food and bed… Honestly, I’m so not cut out for Viva, I’m too much of a sleeper… Maybe next year I just need a IV with coffee the entire time!
Whilst it was disappointing that we had to cancel our Grand Canyon tour, we can always do it again next time and Monday turned out to be a fun day! After sending off our luggage, we decided to go watch a Movie in the theatre inside the hotel and had a few games in the arcade.
Then we caught the free shuttle bus to the strip which dropped us off at the Caesars Palace.
We walked all the way to Mandalay Bay which is quite a long way, it probably took us 90 mins at a reasonably slow pace. We’d been wanting to go to the Shark Reef Aquarium and it was really good! My favourites were the jellyfish and the big shark tank.
From Mandalay Bay we caught a cab to Fremont Street since we hadn’t been there yet. Lots of wandering, people watching and some mexican for dinner before we headed back to the hotel to pack our bags in preparation for a 4am alarm for our flight the next morning.
All in all, Viva Las Vegas was another fantastic week. To win the competition was so amazing and I was astounded by the level of support I had at Viva. I met so many fabulous new friends and caught up with old ones. Hopefully we can make it back for Viva again next year so I can hand over my crown to the next winner… better start saving now!
In the next travel post- San Francisco and New York!
x Miss Victory Violet
Categories: Miss VV Around The World