A 24-year-old Rima Fakih from Dearborn, Michigan took home the 2010 Miss USA crown Sunday night, beating out four blondes and 46 other women. She won the 2010 Miss USA Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip after swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions.
“This is unbelievable,” said Rami Haddad, 26 of Livonia, one of Fakih’s biggest supporters. “It’s a dream come true. I can’t express my feelings.” Fakih, of Lebanese descent, is believed to be the first Arab American and Muslim to become Miss USA. She is also the first Michigander to be Miss USA since 1993.
When asked how she felt about winning the crown, Rima Fakih said, “Ask me after I’ve had a pizza.” Fakih nearly fell while finishing her walk in a long, strapless gown because of the length of its train, but she made it without a spill and went on to win.
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.
“This is great news for Michigan,” said Haddad. “We have beauty here. We have talent.” Haddad said Fakih’s win can help motivate Michiganders to dream big. “This will motivate us,” Haddad said. “She was so determined.”
“This is historic,” Imad Hamad, regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said. “This shows the greatness of America, how everyone can have a chance to make it.” Supporters are gathering at La Pita in Dearborn for a party to celebrate Fakih’s win.
The contestants took the stage tonight at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino to compete for the crown and the opportunity for a place in the Miss Universe pageant.
Fakih replaces Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton and won a spot representing the United States 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.
Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard was named first runner-up after handling a 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. 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.
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.
A panel of eight judges, including NBA star Carmelo Anthony and Treasure Island casino-hotel owner Phil Ruffin, were judging the girls throughout the night.
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.
The pageant aired live to East Coast viewers on NBC. The network owns the pageant in a joint venture with Donald Trump. [via Freep]