11 junho 2010

Rima Fakih Interview

The drums rolled, excitement filled the air, and the atmosphere was so electric a knife wouldn’t cut it. Then came the moment Miss Michigan had been dreaming about: She suddenly became Miss USA. Rima Fakih showed what striking Arab beauty is all about when the crown sparkled against her sensuous dark eyes and hair. The statuesque Dearborn resident also illustrated that America is still the land of freedom and opportunity when she beat the odds and became the first reputed Lebanese American, the first Arab American and the first Muslim to be named the most beautiful woman in the country, despite a significant misstep on the runway.

Although the historic victory was immediately tainted with reports she once flaunted her good looks so well she won a pole dancing contest, the confident and articulate 24 year old has not lost the determination that got her the title. That same spirit may just help her win the Miss Universe title in August. AskMen met up with Rima Fakih, an aspiring law student, to talk exclusively about her background, her close resemblance to Kim Kardashian, the media madness, and her take on romance. 
Q1: AskMen.com : So, have you had that pizza yet? Rima Fakih : Yes, of course. And now I have to get back in shape. I have Miss Universe coming up on the 23rd of August. It’s going to be in Las Vegas, and I’m so excited!

Check out how celebrities like Rima stay in shape at UsMagazine.com
Q2: AM : Upon winning the title of Miss USA, some professional controversialists immediately wondered whether you were a spy for Islamic extremists. How do you respond to that? RF : (Laughs) Well, yes, there were a few who decided to write that. And the only thing they had correct was the spelling of my name and the fact that I’m from Dearborn, Michigan.
Q3: AM : You are the first Lebanese to reign as Miss USA. How would you promote better understanding the two cultures, American and the Arab World? RF : Education is crucial. I feel so grateful for having had my education because it encourages you to approach things differently, and to look deeper and think decisively. It’s very important not to rely solely on the things you read or see on the news. Search for more information and challenge the status quo. It all comes down to empowering and encouraging people to look beyond what is offered to them.
Q4: AM : The Miss USA Pageant has raised a lot of eyebrows after featuring some rather racy photos of the contestants. How did you find the pictures? RF : I honestly adored the pictures! I loved them! We were warned about the dress code and the pictures beforehand. We were all aware of what we were going to be doing, and we had an option. There was a room filed with clothes, and if you didn’t feel comfortable with what you were wearing, you had the option of putting on whatever you like… Even the option of choosing your photo shoot set and way of posing for the cameras. If you ask me, those pictures are artistic and beautiful. They’re glamorous and sexy. After all, Miss USA is no longer your grandma’s pageant. It’s 2010! The women have great personalities, great physiques and are very educated, and this is our way of showing all of that in one.
Q5: AM : How would you defend the pole dancing scandal? RF : Well, of course when you’re successful, everyone wants a piece of your success. And I wasn’t surprised. As soon as we arrived in New York after I had won, the Miss USA organization took me to a quick media training for an hour and they explained it perfectly. They told me: “Right now you need to understand that you’re Miss USA, and everyone is going to want to say things about you or put it out there that they know you or that this is how Miss USA is.” In other words, you can’t let these things get to you. Like, for example, when you mentioned the pictures. That was more like an aerobic class. It was hosted by a local Detroit radio station and my friend actually worked at the station. They’re not the best pictures. Of course, I don’t think that they caught me at the best angle. But again, they’re going to be changing it and portraying it as something that they’re not.
Q6: AM : Do you believe that a girl should save herself for marriage? RF : I believe that everyone lives life according to what they think is right and what they think is wrong. What’s common to me might not be so common to you. In my opinion, yes! I do believe a woman should save herself for marriage because it builds respect. It builds the opportunity to save yourself for something so special and exciting. When you’re young, you might think you’re doing the right thing, but you might end up learning the hard way that you’ve made the wrong decision. However, I don’t judge people for how they choose to live their lives.
Q7: AM : There has been a lot of rumors lately -- one, romantically linking you to Paris Hilton’s ex-boyfriend, Doug Reinhardt. What are some of the strangest rumors you’ve heard about yourself since winning the title? RF : Well, that one was rumor No.1. The second rumor was the one that you mentioned earlier when I first talked to you about those racist claims. I don’t want to repeat what they said because it really isn’t worth it. And, the third one will probably be the fact that pageant girls don’t eat (laughs). That’s not true. I know many skinnier pageant girls that eat far more than I do.
Q8: AM : What are three qualities that you look for in a man? RF : No. 1, I love confidence. I like a person who is confident. Someone who is content with who he is and never tries to be materialistic or someone he is not.

I like a good sense of humor. Someone who can make me laugh is definitely a keeper. I also love good shoes. A guy with a great sense of style will certainly be a plus.
Q9: AM : In a tweet, Kim Kardashian said: “Someone just asked me if I was Miss USA, Rima Fakih!” You tweeted back and said: “hey beautiful... I hear we look alike :) I love your tweet!” Other than looks, what else do you think the two of you share in common? Do you see a possible friendship in the near future? RF : Oh yeah! Kim Kardashian did tweet about me, and I was very happy when I heard the news because I admire her. I love her personality. And in terms of things in common I’ll have to say it’s the fact that she’s a family-oriented person and she loves her siblings and her parents, and I’m definitely like that. I love her sense of humor and the way she carries it in a very glamorous way. I look forward to meeting her one day and maybe possibly join her on her TV show. Why not? (laughs)
Q10: AM : How much different and/or similar are Arab women compared to American women? RF : I believe all women are alike. Women are women. We all smile in the same language. We all get emotional sometimes. And we all have our own different ways of living our lives as either a nurse, an employee, a mother, or a wife. In many ways they’re very similar. If you’re referring to the women in the Middle East, I think that the women in America have a lot more of an opportunity when it comes to education and employment. Some Arab countries are still lacking a lot of that. So, I think that America has more equality for women here than they do in some parts of Middle East.
Q11: AM : What are your plans for after your reign is up? RF : I am going to get into law school. I am looking forward to that very much.
Q12: AM : How would you like to be remembered? RF : Being remembered as the first Arab American to win the Miss USA title is quite fulfilling. I’d also like to be remembered as the one who helped pave the way for many women and teenagers because I believe I walk the walk when I say that you can do and accomplish anything you put your mind to. No one should be able to stop you. Like I said earlier, education is crucial. My secret weapon for Miss Michigan was the fact that I am a college graduate. I have my degree in economics and a minor in business management, and I was studying to enter law school, so, education is the passage way to life. I mean, I can lose the crown, I can lose my wealth, but I can never lose my dignity.

Tarek Hijazi is the editor of Sayidaty (English) magazine and a syndicated journalist whose features have appeared in numerous publications ranging from entertainment to human interest and travel. Join Tarek on Facebook (facebook.com/TarekHijazi) or follow him on twitter (twitter.com/TarekHijazi)

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