Shanna Moakler isn’t just another pretty face. Yes, she was a beauty queen (four times over,) and yes she has modeled and appeared on television in roles that accentuated her physical features, but people shouldn’t write her off as merely window dressing. This feisty blonde has fascinated viewers as half of one of reality TV’s pioneering couples on “Meet the Barkers” with husband Travis Barker, did the foxtrot on season 3 of “Dancing with the Stars,” has hosted reality specials such as E!’s “Bridalplasty” and, in her spare time, started a cosmetics line called Smoak.
Recently, Moakler brought her experience with the Miss Universe and various Miss USA state pageants to the role of creative director for the Miss Nevada USA and Miss Nevada Teen USA organization. The Miss Nevada USA organization will be crowning its 2012 winners at the Palms Resort and Casino this weekend, which Moakler will be hosting with Sarah Chapman, Miss Nevada USA 2011. The Best of Las Vegas spoke with Moakler recently and got the scoop on her pageant duties, beauty secrets and what’s in the cards for her future.
BOLV: You reigned as Miss USA in 1995. What was the best part of that experience?
SM: Being able to travel the country, see all the different states and meet all the different people. I worked with so many incredible charities, foundations and organizations. One of the more special memories for me was working with the Special Olympics. I attended the World Games, and it was just a really, really special moment for me.
BOLV: Where do you keep your crown?
SM: I have four crowns. I was Miss Rhode Island Teen USA, Miss Teen All American, Miss New York USA and Miss USA. I have them in my bedroom, they’re all together in a pretty bookshelf. They sparkle.
BOLV: So we’re familiar with what Miss USA does. What does a pageant creative director do?
SM: I’m in charge of everything creative, from handling the visuals to the production, but I also recruit girls, help find the panel of judges, help style the opening number… And when we do crown the actual winners, I help prep them for Miss USA. I teach them how to walk and talk and do make-up, and help them build their wardrobes–all that good stuff! It’s a lot of work, but you change someone’s life, so it’s worth it.
BOLV: Which is more true-to-life: “Miss Congeniality” or “Toddlers and Tiaras?”
SM: “Toddlers and Tiaras!” Definitely more realistic! No, I’m being facetious. I think “Miss Congeniality.” I’ve met a lot of incredible, amazing young women through the pageants. There are a lot of unbelievably cool and talented women in pageants. They get a lot of stereotyping, but I’m hoping to break that.
BOLV: Why do you think pageants are something young girls should get involved with?
SM: They’re a great stepping stone. I think that pageants get a bad rap with shows like “Toddlers and Tiaras,” but I think the Miss USA system is pretty awesome. After winning a state or national title, (winners) get to travel all over their state or even the country. They get to meet heads of state, work with different charities that might be important to them personally, so it’s fantastic.
BOLV: How do these skills help contestants in life?
SM: (Being in a pageant) teaches young girls and teens poise, interviewing skills. It’s really life building. I think when you’ve stood in front of a panel of judges and have been asked tons of questions, that gives you a sense of confidence that you can use later in a job interview.
BOLV: Your stint on “Dancing with the Stars” was only two episodes long, but were there any lessons you carried from that experience into your life?
SM: I should have lasted longer, but whatever! I had fun, I really did. It’s a live show, and dancing is not a natural skill, so I’ve got to say that was the one show where I felt I had an out-of-body experience because I was so nervous. I had never been so nervous where my limbs didn’t even move! Even when I got voted off, I was so proud of myself for going out and doing the two dances that I was able to do. I felt like if I could do that, if I could go out there and dance in front of millions of people in such a scary atmosphere, I can do anything!
BOLV: From “Meet the Barkers” to “Dancing with the Stars” to “Bridalplasty,” what’s one “real” aspect of your personality that never made it to reality TV?
SM: I think on “Meet the Barkers” they showed me sleeping all the time! I’m not narcoleptic. I do like to sleep, but not all the time! I’m very driven. I don’t think people really see that side of me, that I don’t really take no for an answer, and I don’t let rejection bother me. I constantly persevere, whether it’s starting a cosmetics company, working with pageants or doing reality shows. I’m constantly trying to reinvent myself and become a better person.
BOLV: Speaking of Smoak, what’s it like to develop your own cosmetics line?
SM: It’s so much fun! Cosmetics are a passion of mine. The thing that I love about make-up is that women can put on even the smallest thing, even just some mascara or some light lip gloss, and it changes their confidence, the way that they walk and how they talk to people. That’s what I love about them. Starting the company, this was one of those times where I wanted something that I love and that I’m proud of and that’s me. In Hollywood, when you’re hired to do someone else’s shows, you’re being hired to bring to life someone else’s vision. I wanted to do something creative with my own vision, to give women the knowledge I’ve acquired through all the years of pageantry and modeling and acting. I felt like I had a really good education on it and I could really give something back.
BOLV: Your own skin is so beautiful even without cosmetics. How do you stay so ageless?
SM: Well, thank you. My mom is Portugese, and she’s olive-skinned and just stunning, she looks like Sophia Loren. When I was about 11 or so, she said the secret is that you have to take care of your skin from a really young age. Ever since then, even if it was just a three-step program of cleanser, toner and moisturizer, I kept up with it. As I get older, I just try to put the right things on my skin and get regular facials. I have to stay up on it because I think women get busy with their jobs and kids and life, and we just sort of forget to take that me time.
BOLV: You’ve learned a great many things over the years. What’s the lesson you wish you didn’t have to learn so publicly?
SM: I wish I never blogged some of the things I blogged! You know, when I was younger, (our generation) was pretty public. I don’t think we realized that what we were saying and doing was being put out there to such an extent. I wish I maybe didn’t allow so many people into my personal life. I think maybe young girls in this day and age are learning not to send naked pictures of themselves to their boyfriends, that sort of thing. We weren’t raised with the Internet, and the ethics or codes or unsaid laws, we kinda made them as we went along. I look at my children, and they’re learning that whatever they put out there, whether it’s pictures or words, could really follow them. There is a record now.
BOLV: Speaking of things enduring on the Internet, you still maintain a MySpace page?
SM: You know, I have it there and I’ve never taken it down. It’s like a relic! I go to it every once in a while, and I have no clue how to navigate it, I don’t understand what they did to it now. It used to be fun, how you could make it your own and do fun little things, but I have no clue how to do it anymore. It just sort of sits there in a great graveyard of MySpace pages. It’s an internet artifact.
BOLV: What are some of your favorite things to do in Las Vegas?
SM: Gosh, there’s so many places there that I so dearly love, but you’ll most likely find me in all the different spas! And I do love sitting in Michael Boychuck’s salon over at Colors or Amp, he makes me feel fabulous. He’s incredible!
BOLV: You’re also a poker player?
SM: Yes, I love to play poker. I play all the different charity events, and the celeb events. I’d love to play even more, get involved in tournaments and stuff. My partner and I were hoping to open an online poker site, so we’re kind of in talks right now for that. I think it could be really fun and exciting, because I’m definitely a gamer!
BOLV: Along with everything else on your plate, you’re also a mom (to daughters Atiana, 12, and Alabama, 6, and son Landon, 8.) How do you balance motherhood with all your other projects?
SM: Well, the good thing is the main pageants, state and national, are only once a year, so when prepping in between, you just have to schedule smartly. I’m not necessarily the morning person, but I do all the evening stuff with my kids, the homework and bedtimes, bath times and all that fun stuff. I make it work somehow.
The Miss Nevada USA pageant will take place in the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Resort and Casino. The preliminary competitions are on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $16 each. The final event on Sunday begins at 7 p.m., and tickets start at $32.60. Tickets may be purchased online, at the box office or by calling 702.944.3200.
Published on bestoflasvegas.com