Over the weekend, history was made when Miss Michigan, a Lebanese immigrant named Rima Fakih, was crowned Miss USA, the beauty queen who will represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant. Hours after she was crowned, a series of photos of her pole dancing, dating back to 2007, emerged online; but, she says on MSNBC’s Today show, they’re not what they appear.
Since Miss USA has to abide by a strict conduct code, the photos could have cost Rima her crown, as Donald Trump, the owner of both Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants, could have held her in violation of said code based on photographic evidence. Only thing is, the beauty queen says, the evidence is misleading at best, for she was not pole dancing and she certainly did not do anything wrong.
Invited on the show to talk about her win, how she felt when she heard her name announced and whether she thought she’d lose after tripping on her ball gown, Rima also had to answer questions about the hottest topic right now, the controversy “du jour,” as several US media outlets call it: photos of her pole dancing in 2007. Though the pictures might seem condemning, the reality was different from what they seem to be showing, the stunner says with a smile.
“I just want to say, I can’t deny the pictures, obviously people can see them on TV right now,’ Rima tells Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer on Today. “I just want to make it clear it was not a […] pole contest, it was actually a promotional event that my friend, who’s a DJ at a radio station, had for women. It collected about 100-150 women and they teach them how to dance and feel [attractive]. These pictures were taken, obviously they were not the best pictures you could see, however, I want to say that it’s not what you see. I didn’t do anything wrong,” she adds.
Both Lauer and Vieira nod in approval as the beauty queen explains what actually went down the night she was photographed with a brassiere stuffed with money, since she reportedly won the dance contest that was actually, as per her own words, only a “promotional event.” Donald Trump also sees things Rima’s way, for he has already told her that she’s in no way at fault. Below is the video with Miss USA Rima Fakih explaining what seems to be only a huge misunderstanding.