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October 24, 2014

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Photos: American wins 2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search at MGM Grand

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Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com

The 2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search world finals at Hakkasan on Saturday, June 14, 2014, at MGM Grand.

2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search

The 2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search world finals at Hakkasan on Saturday, June 14, 2014, at MGM Grand. Launch slideshow »

2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search: Wet Republic

The 2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search world finals at Wet Republic on Friday, June 13, 2014, at MGM Grand. Launch slideshow »

2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search: D Las Vegas, SlotZilla

2014 Tropic Beauty Model Search contestants at D Las Vegas and SlotZilla with D Las Vegas owner Derek Stevens, D Las Vegas headliner Frankie Scinta and Corey Harrison of Launch slideshow »

Politics won out over pageantry when contestants from Russia and Ukraine were separated by all the other glamour girls in the lineup at the fourth-annual Tropic Beauty Model Search world finals at MGM Grand over the weekend.

Neither Ekaterina Tregubova (Russia) nor Alina Fednyshynets (Ukraine) made it into the Top 30, though, and it was an American brunette, Elizabeth Smith (#34) of Jacksonville, Fla., who walked away with the title, glittering crown and modeling contract for a shot at Hollywood stardom.

Elizabeth also grabbed “the best smile” award voted by the 99 other contestants.

After one year of photo and video submissions and statewide contests, the Model Search came down to 100 final contestants from as far away as Australia, Britain, Colombia, France, Germany, Peru, The Philippines, Poland and Slovenia.

They all took part in the five-day pageant that kicked off at the D Las Vegas and SlotZilla downtown Tuesday night and included swimsuit judging at Wet Republic on Friday in MGM Grand and the final parade of pulchritude at nearby Hakkasan on Saturday.

Two local Las Vegas beauties, Karin Noell representing 1 OAK at the Mirage and Natalie Lawrence representing Liquid Pool Lounge at Aria, placed in the final Top 30.

Former winners Linda Zimany, 2013, from Budapest, Hungary, and Ligia Hernandez, 2012, from Venezuela took part as judges and presenters of the winners’ trophies.

Other judges included Hawaiian Tropic creator Ron Rice, yours truly, Las Vegas regular Joey Fatone of ’N Sync fame, action star Marcus Shirock (“Hercules”), “Master Chef” reality TV star Nanci Dahl, models Ashley Alexiss and Katarina Van Derham and “Gigolos” reality TV star Brace Land.

Elizabeth told me afterward: “I’m hoping this will lead to a full-time modeling career and then on to being a television host. It’s a wonderful opportunity that I never thought I’d ever get a shot at; it could completely change my life.”

Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue of Donoghue Photography who was on duty at the final two judging events.

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.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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