Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Houston, prepare for magic"

-FEBRUARY 19-21-

At the end of February, I headed out to Houston for a photo shoot with the fantastically talented, Benjamin Urcuyo. Ben was the official photographer for Miss Arizona USA and Miss Utah USA pageants in 2007, 2008, and 2009. He now is a free lance photographer all over the nation.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed working with Ben and getting to know him as an artist. I have always been a very artistic person myself. --I love to write, to sing, and to paint. I just love creating things in general! Because of this, I feel Ben and I hit it off even more!!!

Benizo is not just a talented photographer, but he is also an incredible human being. It was a true pleasure having the opportunity to be shot by Ben, but I consider it an even greater pleasure to now call him a friend.

((Ben: ~ Next time we are together, we're going to find a Border's Book store, have some coffee, and chat about collectively writing a screen play. How does that sound!? :) ))

Ben is a very unique photographer because he has an edgy eye and he takes creative risks. Many photographers keep their photos safe, but Ben is not afraid to think outside of the box. I respect this trait in Benizo because I truly feel that greatness cannot be achieved without taking those risks. We took some risks with my photos, and the pictures turned out like nothing I've ever had before.
Whether you are looking for a pageant shot, a glamour shot, a fashion shot or fine art, to Benizo the intention is all the same… beauty is to be discovered, beauty is to be expressed. Ben will not only make you feel comfortable, but he will also make you feel beautiful.

I encourage all of you gorgeous young woman out there to book a shoot with Ben. It will be nothing short of incredible! You will not only walk out of the Benizo photo session with great photos, but a great friend too.  Check out his website at ;)

I also had the privilege to work with Albert Luiz from "An Albert Luiz Salon and Spa." (Top 5 Salon & Spa in Houston and the Official Salon & Day Spa of Miss Texas USA and Miss Texas Teen USA)
Brief Bio: Albert Luiz has been a licensed cosmetologist since 1986. Working on beautiful women is nothing new to Albert Luiz. He earned the position of Official Stylist to Miss USA from 1994-96. Participating in such pageants as Miss Houston USA, Miss Texas USA and Miss USA, Albert Luiz has become a most sought-after stylist. Albert's edge is his experierence in consulting, training, and preparing pageant contestants on the right cut, color and style to improve their odds of winning a title...His clients entrust him with their locks and he makes them all look their very best. Albert has created styles for celebrities such as Daisy Fuentes, Brooke Burke, Kasy Kasem and Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen. (One my my favorite Miss Universe's ever!!!)

When I arrived at the salon to meet him, we realized that he was the one who did my hair at MISS TEEN USA in 2006. How crazy is that?! Needless to say, it was great to reunite! Even more exciting, he will be an official hair dresser for MISS USA 2010!!! I cannot wait to work with him again.
(Miss Teen USA 2006 Hair by Albert Featured to the left)

To brag on Albert a little bit more, he was the winner of the 2007 U.S.A. "Creative Colorist Challenge", and a Finalist in 2008. Also, the Houston Business Journal in 2008 named his salon within the "Top 5 Salon & Day Spas".

Albert and his team continue to succeed and grow as a business. The salon offers everything from hair design, to facialists, to nail technicians, to spa treatments.  Albert Luiz also has opened a boutique, and tanning will soon be added to the mix.  (On a side note: I had my nails done at the salon and spa before the shoot, and they completely exceeded my expectations. It was honestly the best nail job I've ever had. They looked so beautiful and natural.)

If you live in the Houston area, I urge you to try out "An Alert Luiz Salon and Spa."
Locations: 3425 Highway 6 / Suite 110 / Sugar Land, TX 77478
2178 Texas Drive / Sugar Land, TX 77479
Phone: 281-565-2213 / Fax: 281-565-2412 / Email: info@aalss.comAlbert Luiz

I also had the honor of having my makeup done by the incredible Amin Kabani.  He is an employer of "An Albert Luiz Salon & Spa," as well as "Wardrobe the Boutique." He did a BEAUTIFUL job as you can see in my pictures!! Thanks Amin!!

Along with my team of stylists, was the amazing, Ephraim Zamzow-Danforth. He helped us pick out the killer outfits and accessories inside "Wardrobe the Boutique." The boutique offers everything from full Service Bridal , Gala, and Pageant Collection, along with all types of edgy clothing pieces, shoes, and jewlery. (Ephraim is the store director of the boutique located in sugarland, TX

All in all, I was very BLESSED to work with such a great team of experts! These guys really are amazing, and I'm not just saying that. Thank you Ben, Albert, Amin, and Ephraim for making my trip so memorable. Thank you for the laughs and all of the good times you contributed to! I left with some authentically new friends within each of you!! I wish nothing but the best of success to you all. all of our surprise, we didn't finish shooting until 12:30 a.m.!!!! The entire team was so exhausted. Afterward, my mom and I drove around in search for some food and eventually found an IHOP. I ordered chocolate chip pancakes and french toast!! haha (Why not have both?! - If you read my blog, you can see a reoccurring theme... I LOOOOVE good food ;) )


To conclude my blog, I also had te opportunity to briefly meet  two other great people.  I spent an hour with Nicole O'Brian, Miss Texas Teen USA 2000, and Miss Texas USA 2003.  In 2004, she competed on The Amazing Race 5 with her then-boyfriend Brandon, and today O'Brian is a pageant consultant.
(Bee Your Best, Inc. Pageant Training/Coaching Nicole O'Brian ~281-910-9188)

I also spent an hour with Arnold Vasquez, founder of Soldiers of Fitness.  He was the official trainer for Miss Texas USA 2008, Crystle Stewart, who went on to win Miss USA.  Arnold specializes in showing his girls exercises they can do at home or in their hotel rooms.  If you're interested in training with Vasquez, call him at (713) 302-8638.

(I also got to meet Kelli Harral, Miss Texas Teen USA 2009. She is a total doll!!)

Thank you everyone for a very successful trip to Houston!

God bless,

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  1. Those pictures are awesome.

  2. You look awesome. When you're in town don't forget to check out the vibrant Houston restaurant scene!

  3. Dear Ms oklahoma, you are very beautiful, I was hoping you will win, patients w/lupus need someone like you. My niece has lupus and we will like to know how you got cure of this disease. Please, please inform us about it, GOD BLESS YOU Bonnie & Beatriz

  4. Morgan, you did a phenomenal job in the Miss USA 2010 pageant. You had my vote...there was no contest, my dear!!! I'm still dumbfounded in the wake of the results. Alas, something far more amazing and uplifting will come your way.

    I have a selfish reason for commenting in this forum, I must admit. I'd be completely surprised if you haven't had this question posed to you a hundred times since appearing on national television. Who made your dress (Sherry Hill) ? Where can I buy one? I have searched the internet to no avail. It is, simply put, the most amazing gown I have ever seen worn in a pageant!!! is in a league apart from the rest...much like the young woman wearing it (to be honest).

    I'm thinking ahead and would really like to purchase one for my daughter who may have an interest in participating in pageants one of these days. If you could be so kind as to answer I am most grateful.

    You are simply lovely and extremely articulate when put on the won the hearts of America. Everyone I know in my Facebook social circle (a good 100 people who have given feedback) have all but put their heads into some keyboard out of frustration...What on Earth were those judges thinking? (insert eyeroll and head shaking here)

    Much luck in your endeavors and thank you in advance for taking the time to tell me where I can acquire that breathtaking gown. I know we will be seeing more of you on stage, screen, and beyond in the near future. Namaste.

  5. I loved your reply about Az. beauty and brains!
    You girl!

  6. Hey, admittedly I've never heard of you until Miss USA. However, I just wanted to say it was great to hear you say that you're believer in states rights. I didn't think I'd ever hear anyone at Miss USA say anything like that. Thanks for being honest, don't ever change.

    Also, if it were up to me you would have easily won. And I just needed to say, wow, you are beautiful!

  7. Your evening dress in miss USA was beautiful and I would love to find who designed it or how I could wear it u are my role model and would love to have that gown :) please reply back I would love to know the designer