Pole Dancing Miss USA In Trouble Again

PHOTO: Rima Fakih
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Miss USA Rima Fakih has only one week to go before surrendering her crown, and she is not going quietly.

The 25-year-old pageant queen, who first courted controversy when racy photos of her on a stripper pole in 2007 were released, is reportedly partying again, drawing headlines and raising the ire of pageant officials.

"I'll say I'm proud to say I'm giving up my crown on June 19," Fakih said today on "Good Morning America." "And proud that I still have my crown."

Fakih's latest antics include almost missing a CNN interview last week after late-night partying, and lying to pageant officials about her drinking.

"Obviously you should be responsible," Fakih told "GMA" in response to charges of her recent behavior. "Look at the bright side, I wasn't doing anything illegal."

The beauty queen's partying comes despite efforts by Miss USA pageant officials to keep a close eye on the Lebanese-born Fakih, who courted controversy almost as soon as the Miss USA tiara was pinned to her head May 16, 2010, in Las Vegas.

The first Muslim to be crowned Miss USA, Fakih's win immediately drew criticism of her as a Muslim woman who flaunts her beauty, a controversy enflamed when racy photos emerged of Fakih pole dancing seductively in 2007 for a promotional event for a radio program.

Fakih claimed the pictures were from a pole dancing class she attended, not the "Stripper 101" contest sponsored by a Detroit radio show, and pageant officials let her keep her crown.

"Miss USA was fair enough to look into the situation and see that it was just a class," Fakih said. "It was something innocent that was taken into something else."

Last fall, Fakih slept through an interview after a night of going to nightclubs with a girlfriend and then lied about it, before being caught by hotel security cameras.

Fakih was sent home to Michigan by pageant officials for a few weeks to contemplate the new pressures that came with her title, but they let her keep the crown again.

'I've Learned My Lesson'

"I think coming closer to the end of my reign you have to look at the beginning and all the attacks I wasn't prepared for," said Fakih.

"But everything has calmed down since then and here I am today," she said. "At times I've learned my lesson."

Fakih was born into a powerful Shiite family in a village in southern Lebanon that was heavily bombed during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war.

She moved to the United States with her family in 1993 and attended a Catholic school in New York. Her family moved to Michigan in 2003.

"I think that because of the image that Miss USA should present, of course people are going to look into your background and take away your success," Fakih said.

Dealing with the fallout from partying headlines and pageant queen antics like Fakih's are something the Miss USA pageant has come to know well.

Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe pageant, the parent organization of Miss USA, has been vocal about his controversial beauty queens, including former Miss California USA 2009 Carrie Prejean and Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner.

In 2009, the pageant's winner was overshadowed by runner-up Prejean's comments 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.

Pageant officials urged Fakih just recently to seek advice from Conner, who was put under the microscope during her run in 2006 after rumors of drug and alcohol abuse emerged.

The headlines and fallout from the beauty queens' every moves, sometimes the regular actions of a typical young adult, lead Fakih to believe it's the public microscope, not the antics, that are too much.

"People have to understand, you have beauty pageants and then you have Miss USA," she said. "It's not all 'world peace'."

"Miss USA is just a real woman, a real human being who is an adult and has her own opinion and can make her own decisions," she said.

ABC News' Sheila Marikar contributed to this story.

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