Agent 21 Spotlight: Most Inspirational Women in Las Vegas

31 Mar

angelporrinoMarch is National Women’s History Month. I decided to finish up this month honoring some exceptional women in Las Vegas. I chose my list of the “Most Inspirational Women in Las Vegas” based off of women I personally know, suggested by peers, or have created buzz in the city. Some women are in the nightlife industry (being honored at Blush Nightclub’s Queen of Clubs on Tuesday, April 5th) and others hold different positions in Las Vegas. However, the qualities they have in common are beauty, personality, kindness, and success. I wrote a brief bio for each woman and contacted them. I am grateful for each of them taking the time to provide my readers the information to get to know them a little bit better. The names listed below (in alphabetical order) will always reside in the history of Las Vegas.

Angel Porrino
Photographer: Barry Fontenot

Some may know Angel as Holly Madison’s best friend on E!’s Holly’s World, but most may not know she is a Las Vegas native. Being a single mom trying to achieve her dreams as a model and dancer, Angel recently admitted as being a survivor of a physical abusive relationship explaining her reasoning behind snapping on Jayde Nicole. She has a strong perseverance and a loyal heart to her friends. In a city, where some may be consumed by the idea of fame and change, Angel doesn’t lose herself or conform to what people expect. She stays true to herself and her friends. I personally have respect for anyone that stands by her peeps and stands up for herself.

Places You Lived other than Las Vegas: I lived in LA with Holly for about 4 months but other than that… Vegas is my HOME!
Favorite Vacation Spot: Mexico is my favorite vacation spot, specifically Playa Del Carmen!
The Best Thing about Your Job: The absolute best part about my job is I’m doing what I LOVE to do… what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a little girl.
Role Model: My mom and Holly Madison are the most influential people in my life.Without them both I’d be beyond lost!
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: My mom and I frequent the Galleria Mall. Red Robin is a must while we’re there, but to be honest, if I had to choose one place I’d say just staying at home with my little man.
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? I don’t think I would change anything about Las Vegas! I grew up here and it, along with the people in my life, have made me who I am today. The way Vegas is really gives you all aspects of life… then it’s up to you to make the right decisions. Sometimes we do, but when we don’t, we get to learn and grow from it. I love Vegas just the way it is!

Carolyn Goodman

A natural born leader and doer, Carolyn Goodman is taking her chances to be Las Vegas’ next mayor. She has been a strong voice in the education system of Las Vegas, creating one of the most successful independent schools in the country where 100% of graduates have been accepted to college. Having served as the President of The Meadows School, she managed an organization with 150 employees and a $17 million dollar budget, preparing her to step in as mayor taking over the role of her husband, current mayor Oscar Goodman.

Originally From: New York City
Years in Vegas: 1964 (47 years)
The Best Thing about Your Job: Seeing many of the graduates of the Meadows return to our city to live, start businesses, raise families and contribute by trying to make measurable impacts.
Role Model: Oscar, of course 🙂
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: Downtown! So much vitality and energy!
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? Diversifying our economy so that new jobs andnew businesses would be created returning our people to work. But a significant piece of that “change” is connected to the poor quality of our public education. Most businesses will not relocate to Las Vegas unless the work force is well-educated and the public schools provide quality education for children of executives and employees. As Mayor, I would be a voice for that as well.

Elle Swan

Life Coach and International Speaker, Elle Swan, wanted to die for years, but couldn’t. In her darkest days she ended up severely depressed, addicted to drugs, and living on the streets. Fast forward ten years later and now her life is filled with passion, prosperity and joy. She’s a wife, a mom and travels the world spreading her Be Fit, Live Rich philosophy. At 41, she was recently announced as one of the ten finalists in the 2011 Wilhelmina Hot Body Model Search. Elle’s story and her career prove that it is never too late to stand up and take control of your life. In her book, “Your Mind Over Habits” she gives you realistic ways to get unstuck.

Originally From: Redford, Michigan
Favorite Place to Escape to: Bikram Yoga
The Best Thing about Your Job: I get to show people, on a daily basis, how to rise above mediocrity. And when they do, their entire world is transformed.
Role Model: My vibrant 8 year old niece Nola, because she lives every moment to the fullest.
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: Tom Ford in Crystals
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? I would increase the standard of education and wages for teachers, so that our children could have an optimum education. Knowledge is power… and without it you’re powerless.

Kalika Moquin

I personally know Kalika, and I must say it is rare to find someone, especially a woman, in Las Vegas that is kind, passionate, and willing to help. I met her in the summer of 2006 and she has remained the same true and real person the entire time. She has helped me whenever I had marketing questions and assisted me in creating an event when I lived in California. She has worked at some major hot nightlife spots and helps with Vegas Prom. She is a marketing wizard and one of Las Vegas’ top socialites. She is currently the Director of Marketing for Light Group’s Liquid Pool Lounge and Bare Pool Lounge.

Originally From: Missoula, Montana
Years in Vegas: Lucky 7 🙂
The Best Thing about Your Job: Having creative control; I love being able to take an idea for party or promotion, put it on paper, and then see it come to life. That high never gets old.
Role Model: Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Britney Spears, Madonna, anyone who ever said screw what society thinks and did it “their way” I have a huge admiration for. My mother too, she lived her life that way and always taught me not to care about anyone’s opinion but my own. Just be a good person, follow my dreams and do what makes me happy, no matter the cost. Cause in the end, there will never be a “what” if as long as you tried. It was pretty good advice, no regrets so far.
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: Lake Mead in the summer. To me there is no better way to spend a day off then with good friends, a fast boat, cold beer and country music. But if I had to choose a spot in town it would be the Bellagio. It’s such a classy hotel and I love eating at Yellowtail and then going to The Bank. It’s my favorite way to spend a night out.
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? Nothing, I love this city and everything it stands for. Vegas has been good to me. I feel blessed.

Natalia Badzjo

Natalia has worked her way up in the Vegas nightlife industry catering to the party goers of the city’s biggest nightclubs. She started off as a cocktail server at Tabu and worked her way up to management at Studio 54. She eventually took on hosting and currently is a VIP Service Manager at XS/Tryst. She is the first woman to hold that position for that nightlife group. She helps with the company’s annual toy drive gathering gifts for kids in need. Her strong independent personality is balanced with a kind heart and loyal friend.

Originally From: Russia
Years in Vegas: 9
The Best Thing about Your Job: I love pretty much everything about my job, what is there not to love? It’s full of challenges and opportunities; it never stops or even slows down. And I know one thing for sure-it will never be boring. 🙂
Role Model: I strongly believe that everyone should be the hero of their own life story. I admire qualities and achievements of several great people – but can’t call anyone in particular my role model.
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: I love CILI (restaurant at Bali HaiGolf Course) for lunch. Sitting outside makes you feel like you are on some topical island, far away from Vegas. Gives you a little lunch-long break from Sin City. Another one – Hugo’s Cellar. If you haven’t been there – go and you’ll know what I’m talking about. 🙂
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? I would add an ocean. 🙂 But speaking more realistically – add a really cool water park. With our insane temperatures in the summer months that would be a great option to spend a day off outside the air conditioned places.

Rachel Wenman

I posted a question on social media asking people to nominate who they think the best women are in Las Vegas. A couple people nominated Rachel telling me she was kind, caring and one of the best party planners in the city. She involves herself in charities and helping others. Recently, she shaved her head for the annual St. Baldrick’s and looks as beautiful as her smile. She currently works for N9NE group as the marketing manager.

Originally From: Las Vegas
Years in Vegas: 25
The Best Thing about Your Job: All the amazing and different types of people I get to meet every day
Role Model: My Mom
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: The Palms (haha). Actually, my favorite place would have to be Lee Canyon, I like being in the mountains.
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? I would like it to be more “GREEN.” I think we are making great strides, but we can be much better.

Shannon DuPont

Shannon DuPont opened Baby’s Nightclub at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino where she started as a cocktail waitress but quickly moved up to be one of the first VIP hosts in Las Vegas. Throughout her extensive career, Shannon has worked with some of the most respected nightlife groups in the world including the N9NE Group, The Light Group, and Hard Rock as the Director of Nightlife for Body English, Vanity, and Rehab. Last summer, she was appointed to Executive Director of Nightlife VIP Services at Wynn Las Vegas, where she oversees Encore Beach Club, Surrender Nightclub and Blush Boutique Nightclub. Shannon proves that a woman can be successful while balancing her personal life as a wife and mother. She has been recognized in Las Vegas Nightlife as a top socialite and industry leader with various awards and honors. Her peers have told me she is one of nicest women in the city and someone that is great to work with.

Originally From: Orlando, Florida
Years in Vegas: 11
The Best Thing about Your Job: Besides the great people I work with all the great DJ’s I get to experience.
Role Model: My mom who showed me that hard work and perseverance pays off.
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: Red Rock Canyon and National Park, it’s the best place to go to get outdoors and clear my mind.
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? More family friendly activities.

Tiffany Masters
Photographer: Sam Hon

They say Las Vegas is the City of Dreams and Tiffany Masters has taken that expression by storm. Relocating to Vegas twelve years ago, she has accomplished being a TV host, journalist, special event coordinator, acting (multiple reality TV shows), and a soon to be producer of her own reality show. Keeping her busy schedule of success and appereances, she manages to squeeze in time by helping others in third-world countries that do not have the same advantages as others.

Originally From: Grew up in Kansas “Land of OZ”. However, I keep my ruby slippers pried apart as much as possible in fear of accidentally clicking. Home is where the heart is.
Years in Vegas: It’s been one long night. We count the industry parties or Casino openings like “I remember when Palms opened.” Not the years. For example: I graduated “prom” this year.
The Best Thing about Your Job: Proving we can…when they say we can’t, jack hammering through glass ceilings.
Role Model: I’m not trying to be like someone else. I’m my own role model. I aspire to be the person I want to be in 20 years. A strong independent woman, who has climbed the ladder with her feet, instead of on her back.
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: Who’s going to pay me to say their venue? The highest bid gets a plug (just kidding). No, really, my home for Sunday dinner; tradition’s always going to be kept.
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? Vegas is too political. The city has us turned on our back and hides the threat of terrorism for fear of interfering with tourism. Also, we ignore the damage we are doing to the environment. I’m not a hypocrite by any means, I’ll always leave the light on for ya(LOL), and I drive a Porsche not a hybrid but the little things can count. I would deregulate energy and build solar farms. We have enough land (duh… a desert), saving tax dollars and creating a greener city of lights.

Xania Woodman

Everyone has a role model, and Xania is mine. I discovered her writing when I moved to Las Vegas back in 2006 and have been a loyal reader ever since. She is edgy, entertaining, and honest. She has been nominated and given numerous awards in Las Vegas and is the one person that knows everything and anything about the nightlife scene. You can catch her at pretty much every major opening, closing, and nightlife party. She is currently the Senior Editor for dining, beverage, and nightlife for Vegas Seven and though she has turned her attention to dining and mixology, she still writes an amazing nightlife column, “The X-Factor.”

Originally From: White Plains, NY
Years in Vegas: It will be 10 years, this June. And I was afraid to sign just a two-year contract when I first arrived!I had no idea I was going to make a life for myself here and change careers from food and beverage operations to journalism. But I’m glad it happened and I wouldn’t change a thing.
The Best Thing about Your Job: I have been privileged to witness and document an amazing segment in Las Vegas’ long timeline. I’ve had ring-side seats to see the rise of modern-day Vegas! Everything and nearly everyone that is hot, trending and reigning on top right now, I recall the moment before it emerged or landed. It’s been rather like watching a child grow up.
Role Model: Two women I admire very much are Las Vegas’ superwomen Loren Slocum and Ira Kaganovsky Green for their commitment to balance. Both women are married to their sweethearts, have beautiful families and have created careers for themselves that are personally fulfilling and also inspiring to others.
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas. I feel more like myself sitting with a cup of coffee at The Beat or grabbing a drink at Downtown Cocktail Room or Vanguard than anywhere else in Vegas. Whether checking out movie night at Bar + Bistro, getting a cut at Globe Salon or just showing the Arts District off to out-of-town visitors (to prove we have one!), Downtown really is my bubble of sanity and safety.
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? I would pick it up and move it either closer to the mountains of Park City, Utah, or the vines of California’s central coast!

Yvette Brown
Photographer: Fred Morledge

Friendships and relationships are hard to find in Vegas, but one woman is proving otherwise. Yvette Brown added another business to her resume (on top of two others) called The site allows the locals of Las Vegas to meet new people in the city whether as friends or potential dates. Yvette ties her website in with weekly networking events such as her “Cosmopolitan Connections,” ( and Speed Networking Events. Yvette just proves that no one has to be lonely in the City of Sin.

Originally From: Jersey CI (No Not New Jersey, but the original Jersey-UK!)
Years in Vegas: 8
The Best Thing about Your Job: I get to work for myself! What could be better than that?
Role Model: My Mum Ida and my Dad Ken, they raised me to be very independent and entrepreneurial.
Favorite Place in Las Vegas: The “Las Vegas Country Club” where I live.
If You had the Power to make One Change to Las Vegas, What Would it be? That not one person would feel lonely. Vegas can be a tough and lonely town, and the typical “Vegas guys” don’t help much either!

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