Sure she stumbled in her evening gown, but Rima Fakih — a stunning 24-year-old brunette from Dearborn, Michigan — made history Sunday night as she beat out 50 other women to be crowned 2010 Miss USA.
Rima, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, is believed to be the first Muslim and Arab American to become Miss USA, according to her hometown paper, The Detroit Free Press.
“This is historic,” Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told the paper. “This shows the greatness of America, how everyone can have a chance to make it.”
Fakih won the pageant — hosted by The TODAY Show’s Natalie Morales and celebrity chef Curtis Stone — after making notable impressions in the swimsuit, evening gown, and interview competitions at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Rima earned high marks from the eight judge panel — which included Olympian Johnny Weir and NBA hoopster Carmelo Anthony — when asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance, and she said she believed it should. During the competition, Fakih nearly fell while finishing her walk in a long, strapless white gown that the beauty later admitted made her look like a mermaid.
Miss Oklahoma USA, Morgan Elizabeth Woolard, was crowned first runner-up and will assume the duties of Miss USA 2010 if the titleholder is named MISS Universe 2010 or if for some reason Fakih cannot fulfill her duties. Miss Virginia USA, Samantha Casey, finished third.
Rima is also the first beauty queen from Michigan to win the Miss USA title since actress Kenya Moore took the crown in 1993.