A 24-year-old Lebanese immigrant has been crowned Miss U.S.A.
Rima Fakih, from Dearborn, Michigan, is believed to be the first Muslim to win the pageant despite nearly stumbling over in her evening gown last night.
Born in Lebanon, she emigrated with her parents to the U.S. as a baby. She was raised in New York and attended a Catholic school.
Miss Fakih told pageant judges that her family celebrates both the Christian and the Muslim faiths.
They moved to Michigan in 2003, where she was later crowned Miss Michigan.
Pageant officials said competition records were not detailed enough to confirm if she is the first Arab-American or Muslim woman to win the contest.
The Miss U.S.A. pageant, co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC, was held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino last night.
Miss Fakih competed against 50 others in the swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions.
She nearly fell while finishing her walk in a long, strapless gown because of the length of its train–but managed to recover.
In the interview, Miss Fakih was asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance.
She said believed it should as it is expensive. ‘I believe that birth control is just like every other medication even though it’s a controlled substance,’ she said.
Last night supporters at La Pita in Dearborn were ecstatic.
‘This is the real face of Arab Americans, not the stereotypes you hear about,’ Zouheir Alawieh, 51, of Dearborn, told the Detroit Free Press.
‘We have culture. We have beauty. We have history, and today we made history . . . She believed in her dreams.’
Supporters wore T-shirts emblazoned with Miss Fakih’s picture. On the back was a quote from her: ‘It’s beauty that captures your attention, personality which captures your heart.’
Miss Oklahoma Morgan Elizabeth Woolard was first runner-up after handling a question about Arizona’s strict new immigration law.
She said she supports it.
Rima Fakih, the new Miss USA.