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Rima Fakih On Women Empowerment, Family & Future Plans

Rima Fakih tells us the ins and outs of her life during the pandemic and the importance of supporting Arab women.

The team over at our sister publication Sayidaty met with Rima Fakih for a stunning family shoot at her villa tucked away on the coast of Florida. Nabbing the title of Miss America in 2010 was just the first step for Rima Fakih who continues to share her voice with the world and hold Lebanon's name high. Adding to her success, the Lebanese American public figure is also the proud mother of three beautiful kids with her husband, Wassim Slaiby, a renowned manager of international singers with the likes of the Weeknd.

We caught up with Rima Fakih on her personal life, new projects and role as an ambassador for many causes that involve her home country Lebanon. Click through to read our fun chat with Rima Fakih: 

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1. How are you celebrating women’s day this year?

I would like to send love to all women and remind them that they are wonderful in their fields. Supporting each other is the first step of women empowerment. I hope to see more influencers help girls kickstart their careers and achieve success.

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2. Arab women in the Middle East and beyond look up to you. Who did you look up to the most growing up?

I have respect for many Arab women as I know that they face great challenges. When I was young, pictures of Georgina Rizk, Miss World (1972) filled my room. I was impressed with the success she had achieved worldwide as an Arab and Lebanese woman who managed to cross borders from local to global.

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3. What is the most rewarding part of being the Ambassador of the Children Cancer Center in Lebanon?

I feel very lucky to hold this responsibility. I was chosen to be their ambassador for the second year in a row. I still remember when I first visited the center in 2013 and I wished to be involved and was finally able to achieve that.

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4. Helping raise over $1.2 million, you and your husband have been on the frontlines of the diaspora helping Lebanon. Can you tell us how you were involved?

We wanted the world to know what was going on in Lebanon, and to collect donations to help our people there. My husband has a heart of gold, and I am proud that we worked together to launch a global initiative through the Global Aid for Lebanon campaign to save our country. We are grateful to all international personalities and celebrities who helped us. We were able to provide support to many societies and institutions in Lebanon, such as: International Red Cross, Children's Cancer Center, and the United Nations World Food Program.

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5. Any other causes you hold dear to your heart?

Los Angeles is one of the states with a high percentage of homeless children. School on Wheels provides these children with free education. Since I live with my family in Los Angeles, I joined this organization two years ago as a volunteer, and today I am proud to announce that I am also its first ambassador. I am also a volunteer and a member of the board of directors of Best Buddies, whose goal is to help differently-abled individuals.

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6. For more than a year now, our lives have been hit with coronavirus and we look forward to see how our routines will look like post-pandemic. What are the things you miss and will do first after lockdown-restrictions are over?

First, I look forward to visiting my country, Lebanon, the Children's Cancer Center, and meeting homeless children face-to-face at the organization for which I volunteered. I can’t wait to meet and express my feelings to these children face to face because it was hard for me to do that virtually.

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7. What’s the next concert you would love to attend when life returns to normal?

I will attend The Weekend concert and his “After Hours Tour” and enjoy every beat.

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8. Any Miss USA memories you go back to?

As an Arab girl competing in the Miss America pageant, I remember the emotional rollercoaster I went through. I didn’t let fear get in the way: I managed to go up the stage and face the cameras and jury with confidence. I wanted to succeed as a young woman representing the Arab world.

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9. Today, we spend most of our time at home. With your busy schedule, what are favorite self-care rituals?

I divide my ‘me’ time between meditation, long candlelit baths, favorite shows, and reading after the kids sleep.

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10. Do you speak Arabic at home? How do you meddle Arab culture in the household?

My children speak Arabic and I am teaching Arabic letters. In addition to Arabic music and songs that we listen to at home, my children know very well that I do not do any chores, unless I play my list of Arabic songs. I am also fortunate to have my mum and dad by my side who I speak to them in Arabic.

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11. We saw a video of you on Instagram exercising with your little girl, Amira. How do you motivate yourself to exercise and stay fit?

Of course, it is not easy to do it regularly with three children. But I try to find time to take care of myself. Self-care is very important for every woman, especially us mothers, as it helps us maintain our energy and morale.

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12. How do you keep it fun at home during Covid-19?

We are a family of music. We spend most of the time playing, singing and dancing. We discover new genres of music with the children and watch their reaction when hearing it.

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13. Any lullaby you have passed on to your kids from your parents?

Yes, of course, there is a song I heard from my mother, grandmother and aunt. Today I sing it to my children before going to bed which is "Yalla tnaam Rima" by Fairouz. I can't imagine myself singing a song other than this to help them sleep.

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14. We saw you wearing a stunning velvet cape with Fairuz’ face embroidered on it. Any Arab designers you’re loving right now?

This dress was designed by a young man named Angelo Murad - a friend that is dear to my heart – and many thought it was by Zuhair Murad. I support Arab designers, especially emerging ones! Zuhair Murad is one of my favorite designers.

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15. What do you have on your agenda this year?

I am eager to develop my family business. My husband and I worked hard to achieve this; we also focus on humanitarian work because we believe in the importance of giving. But our main priority remains to spend more time with our children. I am currently working on a very important project with Forbes Middle East and through it, I support and encourage Arab women wherever they are in the Middle East and the world.

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16. What city or country would you like to visit after the pandemic?

I promised my children to take them on a ski trip in Lebanon. I miss my relatives, my sister and my sister-in-law.

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17. What is your favorite movie or series that you are currently watching?

"The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix.

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18. Any sweet escapes in Los Angeles when cabin fever hits?

I like to walk in Santa Monica and the Runyon Canyon in Hollywood. When the weather is nice, I go to Malibu Beach.

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19. Have you ever thought about visiting Saudi Arabia?

I have never visited Saudi Arabia before! I hope to visit the beautiful destinations in the Kingdom with my family soon.

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