DETROIT — Praising America as a land of opportunity, the new Miss USA, Rima Fakih, told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday that her historic victory shows that anyone can make it in the U.S. —regardless of their background.
Touching upon the fact that she is the first publicly identified Arab-American to win Miss USA, Fakih, 24, of Dearborn, Mich., said she hopes the win can help remove the cloud that's hung over Arab-Americans in recent years.
"The fear that people had implanted since 9/11, maybe what I did can show people that, you know what, who cares what ethnicity you are," Fakih said from an SUV driving her through New York City, where she'll reside during her yearlong reign.
Fakih said she broke down in tears when she heard that Arab-Americans in Dearborn were cheering at parties and on the streets after her victory Sunday in Las Vegas.
"That right there made me cry when I heard... that they were all so proud of me," Fakih said. "Everyone should be proud of who they are and where they come from because America is a big melting pot of diverse ethnicities. It's great to be part of this wonderful country."