Lebanese-American Miss Michigan wins Miss USA, talks birth control


Meet your new beauty pageant overlord, people! Miss Michigan Rima Fakih was named Miss USA last night, and many are applauding the choice of a Lebanese-American immigrant – who practices both Christian and Muslim traditions – as this year’s winner. The two biggest incidents of the pageant were Fakih’s almost-stumble as she tripped over her big white evening gown, and when Fakih said that yes, insurance should cover birth control. I agree! Oohh, Johnny Weir was a judge! Fabulous. As was Oscar Nunez, from The Office. Funny. Here’s more from the pageant:

A 24-year-old Arab American from Michigan beat out 50 other women to take the 2010 Miss USA title Sunday night, despite 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.

“She’s a great girl,” said Trump, who owns the pageant with NBC in a joint venture.

In a moment that was replayed during the broadcast, Fakih nearly fell while finishing her walk in her gown because of the length of its train. But she made it without a spill and went on to win.

“I did it here, I better not do it at Miss Universe,” she said. “Modeling does help, after all.”

Fakih replaces Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton and won a spot representing the United States this summer in the 2010 Miss Universe pageant. She also gets a one-year lease in a New York apartment with living expenses, an undisclosed salary, and various health, professional and beauty services.

During the interview portion, Fakih was asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance, and she said she believed it should because it’s costly.

“I believe that birth control is just like every other medication even though it’s a controlled substance,” Fakih said.

Woolard handled the night’s toughest question, about Arizona’s new immigration law. Woolard said she supports the law, which requires police enforcing another law to verify a person’s immigration status if there’s “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally. She said she’s against illegal immigration but is also against racial profiling.

“I’m a huge believer in states’ rights. I think that’s what’s so wonderful about America,” Woolard said. “So I think it’s perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law.”

“The Office” actor Oscar Nunez was booed as he asked the question and asked the audience to wait until he finished the question before they reacted. The panel of judges came up with the questions themselves.

Miss Virginia USA Samantha Evelyn Casey was the second runner-up, Miss Colorado USA Jessica Hartman was third runner-up, and Miss Maine USA Katherine Ashley Whittier was the fourth runner-up.

The young women already glammed up for lingerie shots that became an online sensation and received online ratings from the public before the women face a panel of seven celebrity judges in the live pageant. The racy photo shoot posted on YouTube generated some debate about whether it went too far while drawing thousands of viewers.

Most of the field of contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were eliminated just after the pageant began and the entire group danced onstage to “TiK ToK” by Ke$ha.

A panel of eight judges, including NBA star Carmelo Anthony, Treasure Island casino-hotel owner Phil Ruffin and Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, were judging the girls throughout the night. It was hosted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone and TODAY’s Natalie Morales.

After 15 contestants strutted in swimsuits, five were eliminated. Another five were eliminated after the evening gown competition. Miss Nebraska USA Belinda Renee Wright won the Miss Congeniality award, roughly one week after her father was killed in a farm accident. Miss Alabama USA Audrey Moore won Miss Photogenic after an online fan vote.

[From MSNBC]

Well good for all of them. I think it’s a little funny that when Miss Oklahoma was asked about the Arizona immigration law, she was all “states rights, et cetera, no racial profiling, whoop!” So she doesn’t really understand the issue, it’s not like she’s a politician. I actually do think it’s a little rude that now these women have to answer very complicated political questions. I guess the pageant was hoping for another Carrie Prejean moment, perhaps for Miss Oklahoma to shout “Send’em all back!” Don’t get me wrong, I do think the interview portion could stand to be a bit deeper, and I like that Fakih was asked about birth control – that’s a great question for a beauty pageant. Immigration law? Eh.

Miss Michigan Fakih competes in the swimsuit portion of the 2010 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas

Miss Michigan Fakih stands with Miss Oklahoma Woolard during the 2010 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas

Miss Michigan Rima Fakih reacts after being named Miss USA during the 2010 Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas

Miss Michigan Rima Fakih is crowned Miss USA 2010

Header: Fakih after her victory, credit: WENN.

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66 Responses to “Lebanese-American Miss Michigan wins Miss USA, talks birth control”

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  1. bros says:

    she has some crazy knees but she’s quite pretty. i always wonder if people like her see the irony of supporting a law that would mean that she herself would likely be looked at as one of those ‘suspicious’ illegals-she’s dark and might have an accent.

  2. CandyKay says:

    I think it’s great that she won. That’s one thing beauty pageants are still good for – showing that there are diverse types of beauty and diverse types of Americans.

    Wonder how this will play out in the Arab media.

  3. ViktoryGin says:

    Seriously cool.

    Birth control as a controlled substance! Haha. In America, so true! I swear, you’d think that pharmacists were hocking crystal meth with the way that legislation is some of these states make it difficult for women NOT to get knocked up.

    @ bros

    What was she going to say? “No, I think it should be ok for all illegals to reside in the US. Ergo, relax the legislation.” Even if she does believe that, it would have cost her the pageant. For sure.

  4. Leek says:

    She is really beautiful. Let’s just hope she doesn’t get reprimanded for wearing a bathing suit in public.

  5. Shay says:

    How can you practice both Muslim and Christian traditions when the fundamental belief in both religions are diametrically opposed? I think this is just political correctness gone crazy. It’s not that I’m anti- religion, but I think it is just for publicity purposes and I am anti-beauty pageants because they seldom delve into gritty social subject matter.

  6. House Mouse says:

    Oh her arms!!! she looks like a man, and gosh, she had several liftings yet! Don’t like her nose, either.

    Miss Ohlahoma is so naturally beautiful compared to her.

    I don’t like very much this new Miss USA, too masculine and fake. The crown should go to Miss Oklahoma or to any other challenger of this year competition.

  7. ligeia says:

    she looks like she hasn’t eaten for days in that bikini picture. no wonder she wanted pizza.

  8. bros says:

    shay, I disagree entirely. plenty of people practice polyreligiously. she likely came here as a muslim, and enrolled in catholic school as many people of other faiths do. Being in a catholic school, she necessarily came into contact with and practiced certain parts of the christian religion. this is not impossible to reconcile with her other religious practices. why would this be for publicity purposes-I dont see why this is a big deal at all. this is the case for thousands upon thousands of catholic school graduates, many of whom are muslim, other sects of christians, hindus, Buddhists, jewish, etc. going to catholic school doesnt mean you have to give up other faiths-this isnt an admissions requirement.

  9. Jesus Christ Superstar says:

    @bros: she, rima fakih, did not handle the question about arizona’s law. that was the first runner up, miss oklahoma morgan woolard, the white, blond girl in the third picture.

  10. rraven says:

    You can’t practise two faiths, even though both islam and christianity are abrahamic faiths from the same source, but how do you resolve the differences that caused the split in the two religions in the first place? For example muslims do not believe in the resurrection of christ and christians don’t have any prophet called Mohammed so they can’t be practised together, its totally either or. Also most lebanese are christian or druze not muslim, and also no practising muslim woman will be seen in public in a tiny two piece bikini, sucks but its true.

  11. Nadia says:

    Muslim and Christian religious are not “diametrically opposed”. My goodness. Read about it.

  12. Mouse says:

    @Shay & Bros: Lebanon is a polyreligious country and has lots of Chrisitian Arabs. So even though the name is arabic, the person can be christian, i.e. Shakira. Besides, adhering to both traditions is not the same as following both religions. If you put up a christmas tree, that doesn’t mean you’re following a Pagan German religion. In most African countries, christians still hold traditional ceremonies based on ancient believes in nature gods which become part of their culture.

    Also, The Old and New Testament play a huge part in the Quran. Jesus is even hailed as the most important prophet in the quran next to Mohamed. Muslims just believe he is a prophet instead of the Son of God and they don’t believe in the ressurection, but they do accept his preachings.

    The Western and Arab world might be diametrically opposed, but that’s more a secular vs. religious thing.

    But to get back ontopic: muslim or christian, she is f-ing hot.

  13. rraven says:

    That last photo of Johnny Weir cracks me up btw..

  14. XOXO says:

    Did you guys not read the article? The immigration question was given to the first runner up, not her.

  15. CandyKay says:

    She says she practices both Christian and Muslim traditions, not both faiths. Maybe that means she has family gatherings on both Eid and Easter, and isn’t particularly theological about any religion.

    She probably spends most of her time thinking about hair and make-up, anyway.

  16. guesty says:

    she was my favorite throughout…glad she won. her abs!!!! love love loved miss oklahoma’s evening gown tho.

  17. CathyT says:

    She might have a Muslim father and a Catholic mother. Muslim men can marry non-Muslims (Christians and Jews) but Muslim women cannot marry outside their faith. If she has a Muslim father, according to Islam she is also Muslim.

  18. anyhoo says:


    now we’re judging women based on how they’re KNEES look?

    Gimme a break! You can’t change your farking KNEES!

  19. bros says:

    mouse-thats exactly the point i was making. most lebanese arent druze rraven. Well over half the country is muslim and all the christian sects add up to a minority. and being muslim doesnt preclude women from entering pageants. you should read up on Vida Samadzai. you are definitely doing too much over simplification of many issues regarding religion. anyhoo- I wasnt being serious. give ME a break. stop freaking out

  20. Melissa says:

    Does anybody really think her answer on birth control was a good one? Something being costly is not a reason to cover it under an insurance plan. Medical insurance is for things that are medically necessary, regardless of cost! Obviously, the Pill is used for many things besides birth control (I myself was on it when I had an ovarian cyst), and therefore clearly has purposes for which it is medically necessary. Also – controlled substance? Vicodin and Oxycontin are controlled substances. The Pill is not – it’s a prescription med, yes, but not a controlled substance. Sorry – not trying to bash this woman specifically – I’m sure they all gave equally terrible answers to their questions, since this is about looks and not, uh, intelligence.

  21. heb says:

    I thought Virginia would win, she did a great job on her question

  22. Sumodo1 says:

    The American spin on this is going to be insane, with Michigan having the highest population of Arabic immigrants, and the most unemployment.

    The Arabic world’s spin on this is going to be a fatwa because the evil Americans “made” a muslim woman bare herself.

  23. Samantha says:

    Druze is an offshoot of shia which is a Muslim sect. She can practice pieces of both religions, but she cannot be a true Muslim if she is practicing any form of Christianity. You aren’t allowed to celebrate Christian holidays, which I assume is one of the “Christian” pieces she does take part in. A lot of Muslims fall into that when they come to the US, it is a form of “bida” or innovation which isn’t allowed. Also, if she doesn’t pray five times a day which is absolutely required (its one of the five pillars of Islam) she isn’t considered a Muslim anyway. A true practicing Muslim wouldn’t have done this pageant to begin with so I think its safe to say that her family was probably Muslim, but she isn’t. This was just politics as usual, to show Muslims in a more “human” light. “See? She isn’t blowing up a building or covering her entire body in a sheet, she is just like us.”

  24. bros says:

    gee samantha. bigoted much? because muslims aren’t really ‘human.’ and need pageants to appear less threatening and like ‘us’ whatever that means. ps. plenty of observant muslims, probably most, dont pray five times a day, my husband included. your comment is truly ignorant and racist.

  25. Hepzibah says:

    Not at all attractive in the bikini! Way too skinny.

    And I think Trump hand-picked her to win because of the attention the pageant would receive for having a Muslim/Christian, Arab-American winner in today’s political climate.

  26. Jenny says:

    Shay, christianity and islam are not diametrically opposed. They are actually quite similar. Jesus is considered a prophet in islam (but Mohammed is more important), so why would it be impossible for a muslim to celebrate christmas?
    And what comes to a muslim in a bikini, there are just as many “lazy” muslims (who doesn’t follow all the rules/traditions) as there are “lazy” christians. Just as there are christians who can’t recite a single verse from the bible, cheat on their spouses, work on sundays, get divorced, support abortion, have sex outside of marriage etc, there are muslims who wear bikinis, drink alcohol, have sex outside of marriage, cheat, etc, etc. There are fanatics in every religion just as there are people who’re a lot more chill about their faith.

  27. Pooky says:

    “Just as there are christians who can’t recite a single verse from the bible, cheat on their spouses, work on sundays, get divorced, support abortion, have sex outside of marriage etc…”


  28. Samantha says:

    bros, I am a Muslim, I am just calling it as I see it. Don’t get me started on the bigoted media when it comes to Muslims, you only need to look at any article involving them to see that for yourself. As for your husband, if he doesn’t pray five times a day, he is considered outside the fold of Islam. That is not my opinion, that is based on Islamic hadith.

  29. Bee says:

    @Melissa you make a good point about insurance covering things that are medically necessary. But, viagra is covered by health insurance, and I don’t consider that to be medically necessary. Although I’m sure many men do. I think if you can cover something that can be used to get women pregnant, you should be able to cover something that can prevent women from getting pregnant.

  30. bros says:

    samantha, meet jenny’s comment. also, sorry, i didnt know you were muslim. from your comment, it looked like you were dissing on muslims yourself. i agree with you that there is chronic antimuslim hysteria in the media.

  31. sweetdee says:

    ehhh… i feel that Michigan and the Dearborn area itself could have done better. i was raised in the Detroit/Dearborn/Dearborn Hts. area and in my experience the Lebanese women tend to be some of the most beautiful i have ever seen. that being said, any of the Arab girls i graduated high school with would have blown this girl out of the water! she does have a bangin’ body, her tummy looks like she had a touch of lipo, but her face looks much older than 24 years old.

  32. original kate says:

    beauty pagents are lame. it’s 2010, people.

  33. teehee says:

    Unless the US wants to make abortion ok and have insurance pay for it, the pill should be paid for by insurance to prevent that fiasco.

    They are thinking with their taboo/double standard minds– which is lets everybody see talk and hear sex 24/7 but proclaim to be against it and shun it, and give everybody a guilt complex about it, while we pretend to have “morals” (if you consider abstaining from sex a moral thing?).
    But it isnt smart in terms of health of the nations women and their rights to be smart and not get pregnant when they arent ready to be a mother yet.

    I personally have PCOS and “the pill” is often a first course given to us with this condition. I dont see why it shoudlnt be covered; I especially dont see why not given the way it is handed out like candy for all sorts of conditions from hirsutism to cramping, on a daily basis. IMO more women are on it than ever ought be– especially young teens!! But that is another subject…

  34. Oi says:

    Why is it necessary to point out that she’s Lebanese-American like this? Her talking about her heritage is one thing, but it seems like this is pointing a going “OMG! Look! She’s a minority! See how diverse we are?”

  35. ann says:

    Miss Oklahoma looks like Heidi Pratt.
    The right girl won.

  36. Juice in LA says:

    Johnny Weir is a fabulous bitch. And Yae!!!! for Miss Michigan (not a euphemism, for those of you from the area)

  37. hatsumomo says:

    Damn, Johnny should have been IN the pageant, not judging it. Im sure he was sitting there thinking ‘I need to get up there and show these chicks how its done’.

    And she does have wonky knees and kinda skinny, but she’s pretty. At least she doesnt have fake tits and a carved down nose.

  38. Ashley says:

    I love how my birth control is actually covered by my health insurance for once, and then i thought about it. I am a hair styist for one of the largest corporations in the us, and its cheaper to pay for our birth control than it is to pay for maternity care. and in my field you are less likely to come back to work full time after children. Its so much cheaper for insurance to cover BC than maternity, but tell the jackass insurance companies that. The kicker is when I had blue cross is never covered birth control, but if i was a man and wanted viagra that was covered. ridiculous. OK i am off my soap box now.

  39. bros says:

    i dont even know why the pill question was asked given that many health insurance policies cover the pill and mostly every single one does if you have another medical condition for which the pill becomes necessary medication-pcos being one, endometriosis another, etc.

  40. girl says:

    Personally, I don’t think that health insurance should HAVE to cover contraceptives. What other medication does one take to make their body NOT work in the way that nature intended? But it doesn’t bother me that contraceptives are covered.

    I do think it is pretty hypocritical that contraceptives are covered but typically not natural alternatives like the different methods of NFP despite the similar efficacy rates and the fact that they are far more healthy for you than more mainstream contraceptives. Also, they are much more cost effective in the long run.

    (No, I am not talking about Rhythm Method. If you are intersted, look up info on Creighton Model, Marquette, Sympto-thermal method, etc., and not bulk studies that places all “natural” methods like withdrawal, rhythm, etc. together in one category like many do.)

  41. marie says:

    In the picture where she is holding hands with Oklahoma she looks manly…
    But she is pretty 😀

  42. bros says:

    “What other medication does one take to make their body NOT work in the way that nature intended?”

    every single one of them.

  43. annie says:

    Wrong bros, I need to take medication to make my heart beart regularly (ya, I’m aware that everyone’s heart beats irregularly on occasion-but not every day,every few hours like mine) so I need medication to keep it regular, the way it’s supposed to, the way “nature intened”. Was’nt always this way but developed over time. Both my mother and grandmma died of the same thing.

  44. Karen says:

    @43. Well said, Annie! I’m sorry that heart disease has stolen your beloved mother and grandmother and your comment shows that the earlier statement about medication to make your body NOT work in the way nature intended was spot on.

    My mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Her body “naturally” produced too many white (or was it red??) cells which caused her cancer. Thank goodness for dexamethasone, thalidomide, many other drugs I cannot even spell and her chemo/stem cell transplants which is prolonging her life. Insurance has covered her meds and treatments (thank you Green Shield Canada and the province of Ontario) so that her body stops working as nature has intended. Nature rapidly replicated her cancer cells…and medication is helping to eradic them.

  45. Karen says:

    Oops, I meant that Annie’s comment was spot on…I disagree with #40.

  46. annie says:

    Karen, my Mom had that as well, but what killed her was a blood clot, from her long standing A-fib.

  47. bros says:

    every single medication has effects that make your body do something nature didnt intend. we just weigh the benefits of one effect over another. many medications are beneficial in that they work by acting on one system to benefit another system in a way that ‘nature did not intend.’ I am on a potassium sparing diuretic. this medicine functions by acting in a way nature did not intend by sparing potassium instead of sodium, which is of benefit to my blood pressure, and ordinarily, nature would have intended for me to expel both potassium and sodium. Chantix would be another example, blood thinners, aspirin, etc. if you think for 2 seconds about the fact that most medications do not in fact restore the body to the way that nature intended but in fact do the exact opposite (with beneficial and detrimental effects) you would see what I was trying to say. to single out birth control as the ONE medicine that counteracts the body’s natural mechanisms is complete rubbish. it isnt the only one at all. I wasnt making an indictment of medicine, obviously. i was pointing out that BC is the same as any other medication.

  48. virginia says:


    And do you or any of the other women on birth control ever wonder why breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women? Hmm…food for thought. Just TRY and find a non-hormonal birth control method for women, I dare you. They do not make them any more, everything is some nasty hormone-filled implant or stupid pill, no thank you. It’s a great idea in theory but just like every single other medication on the planet, it has side effects. I personally don’t trust doctors farther than I can throw them, and I don’t want any of the poison they dish out, but to each their own. Just be informed on what you’re putting in your body and what it could do to you….

  49. Sally says:

    She is gorgeous! Loved her answer too. Birth control is subsidised where I live – it’s definitely a good thing!

  50. annie says:

    Karen, best of everything to you and you’re Mom, I know what you guys are going thru, it’s rough. Just enjoy her everyday (I know you do!)You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  51. annie says:

    Bros, I think you’re mixing apples with oranges but whatever.

  52. Majosha says:

    Bros is right. Unfortunately, nature (via a lesion in my brain) intended for me to have seizures, so I take medication to counteract my body’s natural misfire. Just like people with heart disease take medication to correct their particular “natural” inclination.

  53. L says:

    @bros Viagra. Viagra is covered by insurance and is def going against what ‘nature’ intended. In that when men get older they aren’t going to have as many erections.

  54. annie says:

    The lesion in you’re brain causes the seizures, but how did you get the lesion? Most heart conditions are not brought on by nature, but rather, people not taking care of themselves and thats a fact-I said most, not all.

  55. Majosha says:

    I was born with the lesion. And my father and brother have similar heart conditions that are both genetic and not at all brought on by their lifestyle. The “right” answer is somewhere in the middle, of course, but I just wanted to share my own personal experiences, because they support the fact that a great deal of medications are used to combat natural flaws. Genetic conditions that used to kill people in their thirties are now kept in check via medication, and allow people to live long and relatively healthy lives. And THAT’S a fact.

  56. Hepzibah says:

    virginia wrote “Just TRY and find a non-hormonal birth control method for women, I dare you.”

    Ahem… how about the diaphragm?!

    Used it for years because hormones in other BC exacerbated a health condition I had. It worked 100% of the time for me and it was cheap.

  57. Melissa says:

    I’m not saying whether birth control should or should not be covered (although it definitely should be in plans that cover Viagra!). I was just saying that her answer wasn’t very good. You could come up with a well thought out pro or con answer – hers just wasn’t.

  58. sonola trip says:

    There’s something about her arms and hands …. they look rather manly.

  59. Kelaa Khaa says:

    At first glance I thought the person in the bottom pic was Chloe Sevigny!

  60. Mistral says:

    It isn’t accurate to say that there was a “split” between Islam and Christianity. You can say there was a split in the ancient church that resulted in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Or that there was a split in the Roman Catholic church that resulted in Protestantism. But, you can’t say that Islam “split” from Christianity; it is a religion invented 600 years after, and it wasn’t created as any sort of offshoot or as a result of dissatisfaction with doctrine or anything like that.

    This girl is very pretty. Why these young girls all feel the need to do stripper-pole crap, and don’t realize that stripper-pole crap will come back to haunt them, is beyond me.

  61. Shay says:

    Nadia, read what RRaven said about these two religions. That is what I call diametrically opposed: one doesn’t believe in Christ as the son of God and the other doesn’t believe in Mohammed as a prophet of God. End of story.
    You try marrying in a mosque or a church if you’re the opposite faith. As for celebrating them? How? When they’re opposite?

  62. Luci says:

    I totally agree with her on the birth control

  63. ViktoryGin says:

    I have little to add, really, as everyone else seems to have made their points, but I would like to point out that in her answer I think that Fakih was being subversive when she referred to the Pill as a “controlled substance”. Of course, it’s not cocaine, but access to the Pill is abnormally difficult in many parts of the States (namely, the South) especially when in the country in which I live I can get a months supply for 6 dollars over the counter. Insurance is not even an issue.

  64. virginia says:


    I asked about that and they acted like it wasn’t made any more. If it is, I’m gonna be pissed! LOL I guess it doesn’t matter right now because I’m pregnant 🙂

  65. Ms. Sugar Kisses says:

    Where are these women’s curves? Why have they been starving themselves?

    I now know why young girls are starving themselves or vomiting after every meal…here are their role-models….

    EAT, EAT, EAT!!! You’ll get the chance to look like a skeleton when you are in your grave.

  66. Corsets says:

    Really nice picture especially third last pics awesome