Rima Fakih Slaiby (Arabic: ريما فقيه; born September 22, 1985) is a Lebanese-American model, philanthropist, former professional wrestler and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss USA 2010. Having previously been crowned Miss Michigan USA 2010, Fakih was the first Arab American woman and the third woman from Michigan to win the Miss USA title.[1]

Rima Fakih
ريما فقيه
Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih.jpg
Fakih at the 2010 WWE Tribute To The Troops show in Fort Hood, Texas.
Born
Rima Fakih

(1985-09-22) September 22, 1985 (age 36)
Srifa, Lebanon
Alma materHenry Ford Community College (AA)
University of Michigan–Dearborn (BBA)
Occupation
  • Model
  • philanthropist
  • beauty pageant titleholder
  • actress
  • professional wrestler
Years active2004–present
TitleChairwoman of the World Food Program USA's Communications Committee
Board member ofUnited Nations World Food Program USA, Best Buddies
Spouse(s)
(m. 2016)
Children3
Beauty pageant titleholder
Title
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorBrown
Major
competition(s)
Websiterimafakih.com

Fakih was a contestant in season five of WWE Tough Enough, where she trained to become a professional wrestler. In 2018, she became the national director of the Miss Universe Lebanon Organization. As a philanthropist and advocate, she has worked with numerous organizations in the United States and in Lebanon devoted to providing assistance for women and children.[2]

Early life and educationEdit

Rima Fakih was born on September 22, 1985 in Srifa, a small city in the Jabal Amel region of Southern Lebanon, to parents Hussein and Nadia Fakih. She is the fourth of five children; her siblings include brothers Rabih and Rami, and sisters Rana and Rouba. Fakih was raised in a Shia Muslim family.[3] She spent her early life in the village of Souk El Gharb, and attended Catholic school near Beirut.[3][4]

In 1993, Fakih and her family moved from Lebanon to New York City due to the effects of the Lebanese Civil War.[5] After arriving in the United States, the family settled in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens. Fakih attended St. John's Preparatory School in Astoria, while her father ran a restaurant in Manhattan.[6][5] In New York, Fakih's family faced discrimination, and believed that this was due to events in the Middle East. Business at her father's restaurant began to rapidly decline following the September 11 attacks in 2001.[5]

In 2003, Fakih moved with her family to Dearborn, Michigan, home to one of the largest Arab American populations in the country.[3][5][7][8][9] After moving to Michigan, Fakih attended Henry Ford Community College and later received degrees in economics and business management from the University of Michigan–Dearborn. Initially, Fakih had planned to attend law school after completing her reign as Miss USA.[8][10] Prior to becoming a pageant titleholder, Fakih was working at the Detroit Medical Center in developing and recruiting for the Arab American community.[11]

PageantryEdit

VOA report about Fakih in 2010

Early pageantryEdit

Fakih first began competing in pageantry at age 19, when she placed as the fourth runner-up at Miss Wayne County, a qualifying pageant for Miss Michigan within the Miss America system. She went on to compete in three minor international pageants.[12]

In 2008, Fakih was selected to represent Michigan in the Miss Lebanon Emigrant pageant.[5] The pageant was meant for women belonging to the international Lebanese diaspora, with the winner going on to compete in Miss Lebanon.[13] Fakih placed as the second runner-up in the competition, behind winner Carina El Kaddissi of Brazil and first runner-up Jessica Kahawaty of Australia.[14]

Miss USA 2010Edit

In 2009, Fakih won the Miss Michigan USA 2010 title on her first attempt. As Miss Michigan USA, she received the right to represent Michigan at Miss USA 2010. The Miss USA competition was held at the Theatre for the Performing Arts within Planet Hollywood Las Vegas in Las Vegas on May 16, 2010. After competing in the preliminary competition, Fakih was selected as one of the fifteen semifinalists. She later advanced to the top ten and top five, until being crowned the winner, besting first runner-up Morgan Woolard of Oklahoma; her win ended a five-year streak of southern states winning the title. Following her win, Fakih became the third woman representing Michigan to win the Miss USA title following Carole Gist in 1990 and Kenya Moore in 1993, the first winner from the Midwest since Shandi Finnessey in 2004 who won representing Missouri, and is believed to be the first Lebanese American, Arab American, and Muslim American, although pageant officials have stated that their records are not detailed enough to confirm this.[6][15]

During and after the Miss USA competition, Fakih's background, religious beliefs, and Arab identity became the subject of media attention and discussion. Regarding her identity, Fakih stated "I'd like to say I'm American first, and I am an Arab-American, I am Lebanese-American, and I am Muslim-American."[16] While her victory was celebrated by some in the Arab American community, she was also criticized by some amidst allegations that she did not properly represent Muslims.[7] Iranian-Canadian Islamic scholar Ghazal Omid wrote "To say that she is a Muslim is inaccurate. No Muslim woman can call herself a Muslim and be on stage with her bikini."[17] In response to criticism from some within the Muslim community, Fakih stated that while she and her family identify as Muslims and respect the religion, they are not as strict as others and do not define themselves by their religion, adding that they view themselves as more "spiritual" than "religious."[18][19] Her religion and role in pageantry was further scrutinized after it emerged that Fakih had taken part in a "Stripper 101" competition hosted by Detroit morning show Mojo in the Morning, where she pole danced.[20][21][22]

As Miss USA, Fakih received the right to represent the United States at Miss Universe 2010. The Miss Universe competition was later held on August 23, 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Fakih was not selected as one of the fifteen semifinalists, becoming the first American entrant to fail to place in the competition since Shauntay Hinton at Miss Universe 2002, and only the fourth ever.[23][24] Fakih later completed her reign as Miss USA on June 19, 2011, after crowning Alyssa Campanella of California as her successor at Miss USA 2011.[25]

Miss Universe LebanonEdit

In 2018, Fakih received the license for the Miss Universe Lebanon competition, becoming the organization's national director. She organized the Miss Universe Lebanon 2018 competition, which crowned Maya Reaidy as its winner, who went on to represent Lebanon at Miss Universe 2018.[26][27][28] The 2019 edition of the competition was later canceled due to the 2019–20 Lebanese protests, while the 2020 edition was never scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon.[29]

PhilanthropyEdit

As a part of Miss Universe, Fakih has worked with Best Buddies International to help create new opportunities for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. She now serves as a board member for the organization.[30] She was named as an ambassador for The Children's Cancer Center in Lebanon (CCCL) in February 2020.[31] In March of the same year, she was appointed as an ambassador for School on Wheels, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free tutoring and mentoring for children who are experiencing homelessness.[32]

In response to the 2020 Beirut explosion, Fakih, alongside her husband Wassim Slaiby, created a campaign called #GlobalAidForLebanon, in collaboration with Global Citizen and the United Nations World Food Programme. The fundraiser has raised over 2 million dollars to provide assistance for those affected.[33] On April 15, 2021, Fakih was appointed to the World Food Program USA's Board of Directors, where she serves as the chairwoman of their communications committee.[34]

Other venturesEdit

Professional wrestlingEdit

 
Fakih at WrestleMania Axxess in 2012

During her reign as Miss USA, Fakih was frequently involved in WWE events. She first appeared as a guest star on the November 29, 2010 episode of WWE Raw, where she crowned Sheamus as winner of the King of the Ring tournament. The following month, she appeared at the WWE Tribute to the Troops event in Fort Hood, Texas, where she served as the ring announcer. Fakih later appeared as a contestant on season five of WWE Tough Enough on the USA Network, competing for a contract with the WWE as a professional wrestler. She was eliminated from the competition in week four.[35] Due to scheduling conflicts with Miss USA 2011, Fakih was the only contestant from the season not to appear in the live finale episode. Following her appearance in the series, Fakih revealed that she was receiving training to become a professional wrestler.[36] In 2012, she made an appearance at WrestleMania Axxess.

Other mediaEdit

Fakih was listed as number 86 on AskMen.com's top 99 women in 2011.[37] Also in 2011, The Roots performed a freestyle about Fakih during her appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Fakih also had a cameo in the film Real Steel (2011). In 2012, Fakih participated in the Fox dating game show The Choice as one of its four female celebrity bachelorettes in its June 28, 2012 episode.[38] In 2015, Fakih competed in the Thai reality design competition series The Apartment - Celebrity Edition, where she placed as the runner-up behind Chinese actress Xiao Wang.[39]

Awards and recognitionEdit

After her coronation as Miss USA in 2010, Fakih was among the guests at the American Chamber of Commerce conference in Cairo alongside former US President Bill Clinton.[40] In January 2010, Fakih received the key to Dearborn which was presented by Mayor John B. O'Reilly Jr.[41][42]

Later lifeEdit

In 2011, Fakih was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, resulting in an arrest for misdemeanor drunk driving.[43]

On May 15, 2016, Fakih married music executive and talent manager Wassim Slaiby in a ceremony at The Patriarchal Edifice in Bkerké, Lebanon. Prior to their wedding, Fakih converted from Shia Islam to Maronite Christianity.[44] The wedding was attended by numerous celebrities, including The Weeknd (who is managed by Slaiby), French Montana, Haifa Wehbe, and Wael Kfoury and was presided over by Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros al-Rahi. Together, Fakih and Slaiby have three children. They reside in Los Angeles, California.[45]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Arab American Miss USA at Center of Controversy | Voice of America - English". www.voanews.com. Retrieved 2021-01-18.
  2. ^ "Rep". legislature.mi.gov. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  3. ^ a b c "Miss USA hails from powerful Shiite family". msnbc.com. Associated Press. May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on May 19, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  4. ^ Ghaddar, Hanin (May 21, 2010). "The Not-So-Radical Roots of Miss USA". Foreign Policy. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e AlHajal, Khalil (July 26, 2008). "Local student to represent Michigan in Miss Lebanon Emigrant contest". The Arab American News. Dearborn, Michigan. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Miss Michigan USA 2010 – Rima Fakih bio". Miss Michigan USA. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Noveck, Jocelyn (May 17, 2010). "Arab-Americans delight in Miss USA victory". Daily News. New York. Associated Press. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved May 17, 2010. (Archive)
  8. ^ a b Hutchinson, Bill (May 16, 2010). "Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010 winner: Lebanon-born Miss Michigan is first Arab-American to take crown". Daily News. New York. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
  9. ^ David, Ameera (September 2009). "Arab American Rima Fakih Wins Miss Michigan USA". Arab Detroit. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Rempala, Jodi (May 28, 2010). "Miss USA Rima Fakih: Living a dream". Press & Guide. Dearborn, Michigan: 21st Century Newspapers. Retrieved July 6, 2010.
  11. ^ Meyer, Nick (November 20, 2009). "Arab American seeks Miss USA crown after capturing Miss Michigan title". The Arab American News. Dearborn, Michigan. Retrieved May 29, 2010.
  12. ^ Dybis, Karen (March 17, 2010). "Q&A: Miss Michigan USA Rima Fakih on Serving Others". The Detroit Blog. Time. Archived from the original on May 24, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2010.
  13. ^ "Miss Lebanon Emigrant". World Lebanese Cultural Union. March 21, 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  14. ^ "Miss Lebanon lists – Miss Emigrant". Miss Lebanon. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
    • "Miss Lebanon Michigan - USA" (in Arabic). World Lebanese Cultural Union. July 17, 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2010. Elected a Miss 'Rima Fakih' the amount of twenty-two-year-old Miss Lebanon Michigan in the United States. Ms. Rima will participate in the ceremony, the election of Miss Lebanon Emigrant in 2008, which will be next on August 13…
    • "Carina Kaddissi elected as the Miss Lebanon Emigrant for 2008" (in Arabic). World Lebanese Cultural Union. August 14, 2008. Retrieved May 21, 2010. Been in the resort, "[Batroun] Village Club" in Al-elected Miss Lebanon Emigrant in 2008 under the auspices of Minister of Tourism, lawyer Eli Maroni, where she won the Miss Lebanon in Brazil Karina Saints won the Queen and received the crown of the Queen's former Grace Bejjani, dissolved Miss Lebanon Australia Jessica Khuati runner first, and Miss Lebanon in the state of Michigan in the United States Rima Fakih, the runner-seconds…(translation by Google Translate, "Batroun" by Bing Translator)
  15. ^ Warikoo, Niraj (May 16, 2010). "Dearborn's Miss Michigan wins Miss USA pageant". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  16. ^ Duke, Alan (May 21, 2010). "Miss USA says 'American' is her preferred label". This Just In. CNN. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  17. ^ Nasr, Octavia (May 20, 2010). "Is Miss USA a Muslim trailblazer?". This Just In. CNN. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  18. ^ Byrd, David (May 21, 2010). "Arab American Miss USA at Center of Controversy". Voice of America. 2:35–3:00. Archived from the original (Text & Flash audio [11:10]) on May 23, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  19. ^ Gilgoff, Dan (May 21, 2010). "Crash course in Islam from Miss USA". Belief Blog. CNN. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  20. ^ "New Miss USA Once Won Pole Dancing Contest". ABC News. August 20, 2010.
  21. ^ "Miss USA to Behar: Pole-dancing pictures were all in fun" (Text & Flash Video [5:33]). The Joy Behar Show. CNN. May 20, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  22. ^ "Miss USA Weighs in on Mosque Controversy". Inside Edition. August 20, 2010. Archived from the original on August 21, 2010.
  23. ^ Aaron Foley (August 24, 2010). "Miss USA Rima Fakih eliminated from Miss Universe pageant; Miss Mexico wins". Michigan Live. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  24. ^ Legaspi, Charlize (December 15, 2018). "Shauntay Hinton (2002) and Rima Fakih (2010), the last two Misses USA who didn't make it to the finals at Miss Universe. Will the 8-year cycle be a curse to 2018's controversial Sarah Rose Summers?". Twitter. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "Alyssa Campanella wins Miss USA 2011". BeautyMania.biz. Archived from the original on 12 August 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  26. ^ "Miss Universe jury: Maya Reaidy wins first place". MTV. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Two Arab contestants have made it to the Miss Universe 2018 final". Emirates Woman. 10 December 2018.
  28. ^ "Miss Universe 2018: The two contestants from the Arab world vying for the crown". The National. 9 December 2018.
  29. ^ "Lebanon withdrawn of Miss Universe 2019 and Miss World 2019". Archived from the original on 2021-12-24.
  30. ^ "Miss Universe – Raising Awareness and helping find jobs for Best Buddies participants". Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  31. ^ ago, Tamara Kabboul·Latest News·3 months ago·Last updated:2 months (2020-02-14). "Rima Fakih Appointed 2020 Ambassador of Children Cancer Center in Lebanon". The961. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  32. ^ "2019 Annual Report". School on Wheels. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  33. ^ Yassine, Hussein (August 28, 2020). "Rima Fakih & Sal's Campaign For Lebanon Raised $1.2 Million So Far". The961.
  34. ^ "Philanthropist & Advocate Rima Fakih Slaiby Joins WFP USA Board". World Food Program USA. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  35. ^ Gorman, Bill (February 17, 2011). "Miss USA To Be A Contestant On USA's Upcoming 'WWE Tough Enough'". Zap2it.com. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  36. ^ "Rima Fakih Not Giving Up On Being A WWE Diva". WrestlingInc.com. September 10, 2011. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  37. ^ "Rima Fakih – Top 99 Women". AskMen. August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  38. ^ Hibberd, James (May 8, 2012). "Fox's 'The Choice' cast revealed! Joe Jonas, Dean Cain, The Situation, many more – EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
  39. ^ Slaiby Fakih, Rima (January 25, 2015). "The Apartment Celebrity Edition is airing this Sunday Jan 25th on @starworldasia watch& TAG me #AP4Rima @TheApartmentTV". Twitter. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  40. ^ "Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010" (PDF). Miss Universe. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  41. ^ "Miss USA Rima Fakih gets key to city in Dearborn hometown". mlive. Associated Press. 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  42. ^ "City of Dearborn". www.cityofdearborn.org. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  43. ^ "Former Miss USA Rima Fakih arrested". CBS News.
  44. ^ "First Muslim Miss USA Rima Fakih converts to Christianity". Fox News. May 6, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  45. ^ "Rima Fakih - Biography - IMDb". IMDb. July 20, 2020. Retrieved July 20, 2020.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Miss USA
2010
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lindsey Tycholiz
Miss Michigan USA
2010
Succeeded by
Channing Pierce