A 24-year-old Lebanese-American from Michigan beat out 50 other women to take the 2010 Miss USA title Sunday night, despite nearly stumbling in her evening gown.
Rima Fakih of Dearborn, Mich., won the pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip after strutting confidently in an orange and gold bikini, wearing a strapless white gown that resembled a wedding dress and saying health insurance should cover birth control pills.
When asked how she felt about winning the crown, she said, “Ask me after I’ve had a pizza.”
Fakih, a Lebanese immigrant, told pageant organizers her family celebrates both Muslim and Christian faiths. She moved to the United States as a baby and was raised in New York, where she attended a Catholic school. Her family moved to Michigan in 2003.
Pageant officials said historical pageant records were not detailed enough to show whether Fakih was the first Arab American, Muslim or immigrant to win the Miss USA title. The pageant started in 1952 as a local bathing suit competition in Long Beach, Calif.
Fakih told reporters she sold her car after graduating college in Michigan to help pay for her run in the Miss Michigan USA pageant.
She said she believed she had the title on Sunday after glancing at pageant owner Donald Trump as she awaited the results with the first runner-up, Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard.
“That’s the same look that he gives them when he says, ‘You’re hired,'” on Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice,” she said.