On May 16, when Rima Fakih was crowned Miss USA 2010 in her form-fitting white evening gown by Novi designer Larry Kralowski, all she could contemplate, she says, was eating a slice of pizza.
With the Miss Universe pageant rapidly approaching, Fakih surely is not consuming anything resembling pizza.
The Lebanon-born beauty and Dearborn resident (since 2003, when she moved from Queens, N.Y.) is the third Michigan woman to capture the Miss USA title. On Aug. 23, she will vie for the crown of Miss Universe in the pageant broadcast from Las Vegas on NBC.
Shortly after being named Miss USA, Fakih spoke with Hour Detroit by telephone from New York.
What do you like most about metro Detroit?
That it’s the birthplace of Ford Motor Co., because I’m very big on the auto industry hopefully coming back.
What are your favorite places to eat and shop?
My favorite restaurant is Crave Lounge in Dearborn. The second one would be Habib’s Cuisine, near City Hall in Dearborn. His food is awesome. I shop at Somerset.
Are you doing any particular diets or workout regimens to prepare for the next competition?
Of course. The person who helped me prepare for Miss USA is Quincy Alexander, who runs a team gym called Get It In. He’s a Detroit native. I’m still doing everything Quincy taught me. However, I’m starting my own training here with the Miss USA organization. They gave me a membership to the gym and my own trainer.
I have a diet, and Quincy actually helped me with it. I eat five times a day. I do oatmeal in the morning, I have a salad for lunch, and for afternoon and dinner, I have a 4-ounce salmon maybe, and rice and vegetables. I’ll stop eating after 8. And of course, no juice, no soda. I get in 45 minutes of cardio, and 30 minutes of weight training.
What will you wear in the Miss Universe competition?
I’m not too sure, but I do hope to get something from Katerina Bocci [the Shelby Township designer who made a gown for Fakih’s evening-wear photo shoot for Miss USA]. As for my final evening gown, that’s for Miss USA’s organization to decide, depending on sponsorship and who would like to design it.
After your reign, you plan to attend law school. Might you return to Michigan to study?
Well, my choice was to go to University of Michigan Law School, but now that I’m in New York, I want to go to Columbia. I’m going to so many interesting events with a lot of professional people. For example, the other day I went to West Point, and I got to see President Barack Obama. I met … Harvard professors, congressmen, and great senators, so I collected some business cards for recommendation letters. And maybe Mr. Trump [owner of the Miss Universe franchise] can write me one, too.
Tell me about the charities you are involved with.
In Michigan, I’m involved with the Pink Fund [which provides financial aid to those with breast cancer]. I’m the ambassador. I volunteer with the Detroit Medical Center. I’m also an employee with the DMC, but [am] on a leave of absence. And, with Miss USA, I’m teaming up with the Susan Komen Foundation, Gilda’s Club, and the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance — a lot of things that I’m hoping to bring back home. Because my mom and other individuals of my family have had health issues before, it’s very close to my heart.