A queen must know the true mission of her crown, as it isn’t just about beauty, it’s about being a role model and a good example for others. A queen is a strong woman who can achieve anything she wants. She is wise enough to influence others, yet humble enough to empathize and fight with them when life becomes hard.
In 2010, the USA and Lebanon had finally something in common; Rima Fakih a beauty queen. Since she was crowned as Miss USA, Rima has showed us what it is like to be a queen with a mission. She’s a beauty and fighter. Rima was the first Arab and Lebanese Miss USA, she was named among the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2011, became the National Director of Miss Universe Lebanon in 2018, and today she is the Ambassador of The Children’s Cancer Center in Lebanon.
Her inspiring journey made us reach out to her and ask her some personal questions about her family, marriage, Miss USA title and future plans.
What have lockdown and covid-19 pandemic changed about you so far? Do you think it’s going to leave a huge impact on how we live and communicate?
Nothing really changed about me. However, I discovered how much I love spending time with my husband and kids; to wake up together, having lunch and dinner together, this meant so much to me.
In fact, I think the world knows now how important family is, what life is outside social media and what’s going on in the outside world. It is something really important, to take a step back and value your relationships and bond with family.
What’s the first thing you want to do after lockdown?
After lockdown, I would like to take my kids to see their family in Lebanon. My mother in-law and siblings in-law are still in Lebanon, as well as my elder sister and aunties. I hope my kids will go back to Lebanon to see their relatives, to enhance their Arabic language, and to get to know more our Lebanese culture.
How did you and Sal cope with the pandemic, did you feel any tensions going on in your relationship while in lockdown? And with the kids?
I can say one thing that my husband and I were very close during this time, because we are best friends; we love to spend time with each other. With no meetings to attend nor flights to take, we were able to be together all the time, without any tension going on between us. I really advise everyone to marry his/her best friend, because you’ll never get bored from each other even if you’re locked up together.
As for my children, it was hard at first for them, because they didn’t have their usual activities, and they were forced to stay at home. However, they got used to it with time.
What makes your relationship with Sal so special? How did you know he was the one?
First things first, I thank God for knowing and getting to meet my husband. I was just like any girl who would say “I hope to find someone special”, and I did find him, in fact, he surpassed my expectations. I feel we’re very close to each other, because he’s my idol, my hero, he’s someone I can look up to, and resort to him for every little thing. For instance, If I’m having work issues or a problem with one of my friends, he’s always there to give me the right advice.
You just celebrated your 10th anniversary of being Miss USA, what do you remember the most?
I mostly remember how much I got to travel when I was crowned as Miss USA. I also met a lot of important personalities. I felt like I had a strong power and a significant image to protect, being the first Arab Lebanese immigrant titled as Miss USA. The most important thing for me is young women, with hopes and dreams, who look up to me. Therefore, since holding the crown of Miss USA, I lead with example.
I am not perfect, nobody’s perfect. So like everyone else, we make mistakes. The way you learn from those mistakes and move forward, will make you realize the true value of the crown and why you have it.
One highlight I have from Miss USA is when I was invited to the White House, where I stood and spoke confidently in front of the White House members, it was something very meaningful to me.
In February, you were appointed as Ambassador of Children Cancer Center in Lebanon. Why did you choose to support this cause specifically?
Since my first visit to the Children Cancer Center of Lebanon in 2013, I saw how much they take care of children who have cancer, whether from Lebanon or abroad, who can’t afford the treatment. So I decided that one day, when I have more capabilities of helping them, I will do it. Today, in 2020, I can do that. I am very thankful, and hopefully by the end of this year, I can reach that goal.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
My advice for little Rima:
Rima you will get hundreds of people telling you “don’t do this, don’t do that, you won’t get there, It’s impossible”. A lot of doors will close on you, but never give up. Every time someone says “no”, insist more on your goal. Each time you hear “it’s impossible”, aim to change that.
Any future plans or projects?
My priority is my husband and children. I always want to be there for them, to help them with their homework, play time, classes. Also, I am always my husband’s number 1 fan.
The second important thing is to achieve my goal with the Children Cancer Center in Lebanon. Finally, I hope to be able to help more organizations in the future and release my own biography.