Luxe Life Blog
Vanessa Minnillo’s Face of Vegas a ruse for True Beauty
Call it a hoax or a very successful ruse, but ABC producers got away with it for the entire four weeks they were filming their reality series Face of Vegas here in Las Vegas. I’ve learned now that as Vanessa Minnillo, Carson Kressley, Beth Ostrosky and the network program execs left town this past weekend, it was all just a massive and elaborate cover-up!
There is no Face of Vegas show. A total deception and con. I was fooled until the final days. Now if only they’d told me the truth and then sworn me to secrecy when I tried to extract information from them while we were all at separate tables in Koi at Planet Hollywood last week, I would have kept the secret until it was time to officially reveal the details.
ABC had lowered a total curtain of confusion and shrouded it with secrecy. There were even false rumors floated that Peepshow star Holly Madison might be the eventual winner. Everybody kept to the fake Face of Vegas story until yesterday when I confirmed what I’d been researching for four days.
The real show they shot here was True Beauty, the second outing for Vanessa as host, with Carson and Beth as co-judges. It’s the second production from Tyra Banks and Ashton Kutcher, neither of whom were seen in town. This past January on the first True Beauty, Vanessa’s judges were supermodel Cheryl Tiegs and fashion expert Nol Marin. The trio had to find the most beautiful person inside and out from 10 contestants and declared pageant queen Julia Anderson from Dallas the winner.
I’m reliably told that even the contestants on this show were fooled into thinking they were filming Face of Vegas, but the challenges were all designed to lead to the final Hall of Beauty on the under-wraps show. I had this strange feeling I was being tricked when I questioned the producers, and one little slip-up on their part made me go exploring for the truth.
Everywhere I turned, everybody stuck to the fake story, even my friends and valuable contacts on the Strip! They’d been sworn to silence, and not one of them whispered a hint to me of what was happening. Cast, crew, producers and Las Vegas VIPs were all orchestrating their campaign of confusion. Network officials had signed confidentiality agreements with all the locations, including Planet Hollywood, The Venetian and Fremont Street, to maintain the secret. I kept digging and only when these photos surfaced yesterday of Carson on a shopping trip at Canali in The Shoppes at the Palazzo did the jigsaw puzzle finally fall into place.
When I chatted with Vanessa, Carson and Howard Stern’s wife, fashion model Beth, while they were in our city, they stuck to the false show story. They never let one word leak. Apparently, it was an ABC master plan because officials didn’t want any of the contestants knowing the actual show they were filming. From the original casting through the shooting until this weekend’s wrap, they all thought one of them would wind up as the new King or Queen of Las Vegas, complete with a promise of an advertising campaign role and a Strip nightclub party dedicated to them.
All a ruse, all a hoax. Just to ensure that the contestants didn’t know secret cameras would be spying on them when the fake show challenges had completed filming. And the producers would have gotten away with it if one person at that dinner table in Koi hadn’t told me they’d done the show once before -- and was then promptly kicked under the table for slipping up and revealing too much to me as I tried a thousand different ways to ask the same probing question.
I guess it’s safe now that the competitors have all left town. The cameras have been shipped home, the tapes safely back at ABC’s editing suites -- and a winner chosen --that the secret show can be revealed. I would have kept the secret, but it’s now out there as another kind of story. We won’t know anything more until the New Year, except ABC execs did confirm at the Koi dinner that their reality series will air for eight episodes, and they hope that it will do well enough in the ratings to produce more. They told me they loved filming for four weeks in Las Vegas. “Everybody has been wonderful to us,” one of the producers happily told me, evidently because the secret had been kept right until the very last moment. Now no longer, though!
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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