Rima Fakih, a 24-year-old Lebanese immigrant, was crowned Miss U.S.A on Sunday evening, making her the first ever Arab-American to win the title.
Hailing from Dearborn, Michigan, Ms. Fakih nearly tripped over in her evening gown but went on to win anyway, after telling judges that in her view birth control ought to be paid for by the healthcare system given how costly it was.
She also discussed her multi-faith background during the competition, describing her family as one that celebrated both the Christian and the Muslim faiths.
The pageant was held at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Miss Fakih competed against 50 other contestants in the swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions.
Ms. Fakih was born in Lebanon and emigrated to the United States as a child. She grew up in New York attending a Catholic school and moved to Michigan in 2003.
The Detroit Free Press quoted pageant fan Zouheir Alawieh as saying, “This is the real face of Arab Americans, not the stereotypes you hear about.” He added, “We have culture. We have beauty. We have history, and today we made history... She believed in her dreams.”
The first runner-up was Miss Oklahoma Morgan Woolard, who said to judges that she supported Arizona’s strict new immigration law.