Rima Fakih, the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, is believed to be the first Muslim and Arab-American to become Miss USA, according to The Detroit Free Press. But pageant officials said historical records were not detailed enough to confirm back to 1952 when the pageant began.
Fakih won the pageant Sunday night after swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. She replaces Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton and will represent the U.S. in the 2010 Miss Universe pageant.
A year after the pageant's runner-up, Miss California Carrie Prejean, divided judges with her controversial answer against legalizing same-sex marriage, this year's controversy stirred from a racy lingerie promotional photo shoot of the glammed-up contestants. But the ceremony itself was a tame affair.
During the competition, Fakih nearly fell while finishing her walk in a long, strapless white gown because of the length of its train. She recovered without falling, and later said the gown looked like a wedding dress that made her look like a mermaid.
One of their biggest challenges was not to stumble in the interview portion of the pageant.
In the interview, Fakih was asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by health insurance, and she said she believed it should.
Miss Oklahoma USA Morgan Elizabeth Woolard was first runner-up after handling a question about Arizona's new immigration law. She said she supports it.
A panel of eight judges, including NBA star Carmelo Anthony and Treasure Island casino-hotel owner Phil Ruffin, were judging the girls throughout the night. TODAY's Natalie Morales and celebrity chef Curtis Stone hosted the event.