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There was a stripper pole, and it happened in a "gentleman's club," but no matter what the headlines say, the new Miss USA didn't take her clothes off or "do anything wrong," she told the "Today" show.
Days after Rima Fakih won the Donald Trump and NBC-owned pageant, photos surfaced of her dancing around a stripper pole in a contest sponsored by a Detroit-area radio station. And while the public may be conditioned to expect lurid photos and sex tapes from every beauty that steps into the limelight, these photos aren't that. In fact, she wore far less in the contest's swimsuit competition.
Fakih is rocking a pair of red shorts and a blue tank top in the pictures, taken in 2007. But while the garb was fairly wholesome, the circumstances were all gossip sites like TMZ needed to make it sound like there was a scandal in the making.
Trump quickly stepped in to defend the Lebanese-born Fakih, saying there was nothing wrong with the pictures. But Fakih spoke up for herself, saying she had not, as TMZ reported, entered the contest to take lessons in doing a striptease. She was just there to help promote the 2007 event that took place in Detroit.
“I can’t deny the pictures. I just want to make it clear, it was not a stripper pole contest; it was actually a promotional event that my friend, who’s a DJ at that radio station, had — for women,” Fakih said. “[They] collected about 100, 115 women, and they teach them how to dance and be sexy. It actually involved doctors and lawyers, everyone in Detroit. And so I got up there to get the party started and say, ‘Hey, you know what? Hop on up here and show ’em what you learned today.’ ”
The photographs had been on the Mojo in the Morning website since 2007, but went ignored as Fakih won the Miss Michigan title. But once she took the big tiara, the photos got out. But in her interview, she made it clear that she doesn't see this as the latest in a long line of beauty contestant scandals. Just last year, photos of Miss California Carrie Prejean posing partially nude surfaced after she had been named runner up.
Mojo, the host of the radio program, defended Fakih.
“The photos are obviously very sexy, but she’s a very sexy person,” he told Headline News.