New Miss USA Once Won Pole Dancing Contest

PHOTO Miss USA Rima Fakih won a pole dancing class in 2007

The triumphant walk for the new Miss USA took her straight into controversy as a Muslim woman who flaunts her beauty, and who once flaunted it so well she won a stripper contest.

Rima Fakih, 24, won the title as the country's most beautiful woman Sunday night in Las Vegas.

Shortly after the release of pictures showing Fakih cradling a dozen roses across her strapless white dress while balancing a shimmering tiara on her head, came photos of Fakih in red short shorts, a tiny tank top and towering stilettos while balancing against a pole.

Fakih won the "Stripper 101" contest which was sponsored by a Detroit radio show Mojo in the Morning in 2007.

Spike, the co-host of Mojo, said news of the pole dancing drew the attention of Miss USA's parent organization, The Miss Universe pageant.

VIDEO: 007 photos show Rima Fakih participating in a Stripper 101 radio contest.
Miss USA Rima Fakih's Pole Dancing Past

"The Miss Universe representatives called earlier today," Spike told "They wanted to see if we have more photos or information."

"They couldn't tell us what their intentions were and we didn't want to give them anything that might cause her to relinquish her crown," he said.

Spike called the inquiry "ridiculous" because "she's wearing more clothes in the photos on our site than she was in those photos for the pageant."

He said the contest was run by actual strippers, but the contestants did not strip. "They're not naked. They're encouraged to wear comfortable clothes," Spike said.

Fakih won some jewelry from the show's sponsors and a take home stripper pole.

VIDEO: The View talks about Miss USA Rima Fakihs pole dancing photos.
'The View' Defends Miss USA's Pole Dancing

It was the latest controversy for the Miss USA pageant. In 2009, the pageant's winner was overshadowed by the comments of runner-up Carrie Prejean opposing gay marriage. She was later stripped of her title as Miss USA runner-up and as Miss California because of a sexually explicit videotape in which she appeared alone.

It's not clear yet if Fakih's earlier triumph will taint her Miss USA crown, but in Michigan people were beaming over her selection. The broadest smiles were on the many faces of Arab immigrants in Dearborn.

Miss USA Is a Muslim Immigrant From Lebanon

Fakih is a Lebanese immigrant and a Muslim. While the pageant was not certain whether she was the first Muslim or immigrant to win the title, her reign clearly comes at a time when many in the Arab and Muslim world are suspicious and hostile to America -- and believe that America is hostile to them.

The title also comes as there is increased scrutiny of the conservative Muslim practice of cloaking women in burqas or hijabs, all encompassing clothes meant to hide the woman's body from everyone except a woman's husband.

"It's so exciting. It's so amazing. I love it," gushed Fatan Fawzi, who is 32 and describes herself as a mother. "I'm so happy because I'm Arabic like her. She's so pretty. I saw her face on TV... She's so lucky."

Rana Aoun is 20 and lives in Fakih's hometown of Dearborn. "I feel like she represents all of us and we're so proud of her. She's beautiful, she's intelligent," she said.

"There's a lot of negative vibes about Arab American people and she's the perfect example of someone to represent us. She's very smart, she's very educated. She just won Miss USA, so what more can you say?" Aoun added.

Aniss Baydoun, a 24-year-old man in Dearborn, was equally pleased about Fakih's crown. "I'm proud to hear and see that somebody from the community is being acknowledged for their talent," he said.

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