Arab American Crowned Miss USA

Arab American Crowned Miss USA

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LAS VEGAS — Rima Fakih of Dearborn was crowned Miss USA Sunday.

Fakih, 24, is of Lebanese descent and grew up in Queens, New York before moving to Michigan permanently in 2003.

"Growing up, my mother (Nadia) and my family showed me what's on the inside is more important than what's on the outside," said Fakih in a November interview with the Arab American News.

NBC commentators Joan and Melissa Rivers raved over Fakih's body and her elegant walk during the pageant, and an on-stage stumble proved only to be a minor bump on the path to national recognition.

"My family helped pay for a lot of the expenses. I also had to sell my blue 1998 Ford Taurus," Fakih said in November about entering the pageant. "I sold it for $1,200 and used $1,100 for the pageant. With the other $100, I took my mom out for sushi."

She told about having to sell her car during a pageant interview on stage. She was also asked during interview competition if she believes birth control should be paid for by health insurance. She said she believed it should.

Judges must have been impressed. She beat out 50 other women.

Fakih said last week that she hopes to inspire more Arab American women to participate in events like the Miss USA pageant.

"A lot of (Arab American) girls might be applying for Miss Michigan next year," she told Arab American News reporter Nick Meyer. "If not, I'm going to feel like a failure."