Rima Fakih celebrated her Miss USA coronation Sunday night like many pageant winners before her -- with shock, tears and a sparkling white smile. Also like a number of recent tiara wearers, controversy has already found her.
Fakih, 24, a Lebanese immigrant and University of Michigan graduate from Dearborn, Mich., is under fire after pictures surfaced of a her competing in a Detroit radio's station's "Stripper 101" pole dancing contest in 2007. She won the competition, taking home her own stripper pole and "adult toys," according to TMZ.com.
Partying pageant queens are nothing new (see: former Miss USA Tara Conner), but Fakih's win may be historic because she is believed to be the first Arab-American and Muslim to win the Miss USA title, though pageant officials said they could not yet confirm that. The aspiring lawyer who immigrated to the U.S. as a baby and attended a Christian school in New York during her childhood has said she identifies as an Arab-American who celebrates both the Christian and Muslim faiths.
For some Muslims, Fakih's win is bittersweet. There is pride over her ascension to the visible role of Miss USA -- and disappointment that she had to bare her body to get there.