Life for Miss USA is all about running in heels.
The recently crowned Rima Fakih, who competed as Miss Michigan and is now the first Arab-American woman to hold the title, is always on the go. And thanks to her newly acquired title, she has mastered the ability to “run, jump and climb” in platforms.
“At the airport recently, we had two minutes to get there before we boarded, and I was ahead of everyone else, running in [stilettos],” said Fakih.
When Fakih invited Footwear News over to the New York apartment she now shares with the current Miss Universe, Stefanía Fernández, she had just moved in and was still adjusting to the closet space — much smaller than what she had in her house in Michigan. And since our visit, she has created a separate closet just for shoes.
“You can never have enough shoes; your shoes say a lot about you,” said Fakih, who describes her style as very “Sex and the City” and admitted that footwear is the first thing she notices about the opposite sex.
But don’t expect any lingering scandals during her reign as Miss USA. When asked about the photos that recently surfaced of the pageant winner pole-dancing, 24-year-old Fakih said she wasn’t worried about any future repercussions “because I did nothing wrong and it was taken out of context.”
Here, Fakih shares her love for comfort, style and a good splurge.
Number of pairs owned: 80 to 85
Favorite brands: “Nina and Jimmy Choo — which I probably only buy once or twice a year — Aldo, Guess and Bebe. Bebe makes these heels that have a nice platform. They are so comfortable and sexy.”
Storage strategy: “[In Michigan], I have a storage closet under our basement stairs, where I store my winter shoes. Summer shoes and sandals are always out and I stack wedges on top of each other. The second I walked [into the New York apartment], our house manager gave me a tour and I asked, ‘Is there any storage [for shoes]?’”
Most comfortable pair: Nina. “We have to do the opening number for Miss USA [wearing them]. We have to walk on steep stairs and dance.”
Least comfortable pair: Cheap shoes. “I don’t want to name any [brands], but it’s OK to spend money on shoes [rather than] an outfit.”
Oldest pair: Aldo. “They’re black and they wrap all the way up my ankle to the middle of my calf. I’ve repaired the heel three times and polished the heel maybe four times, and they always look new and in style.”
Favorite athletic brand: “I only wear Nike [sneakers].”
Most expensive pair: “Jimmy Choos I bought in Las Vegas for $495. I set a [workout] goal for myself, [and I said], ‘If I achieve this goal, I will buy myself a pair of shoes, [despite] being a girl with a lot of school loans.’”
Least expensive pair: “I bought a pair of Steve Madden wedges for $9.99. I had a coupon, and they were marked down.”
Biggest shoe regret: “[Buying] shoes from Kmart once when I was in high school. I bought them because [I was already there] buying toothpaste. I finally got the chance to go out with a guy I had a crush on [that night], and I had to leave the movie to change my shoes [because they hurt]. They were so ugly and had black diamonds.”
Favorite shoe-shopping spots: Nordstrom, Bebe, Ninashoes.com
Favorite era: 1970s. “Because it reminds me of my mom.”
Best day-to-night shoe: Bebe or Nina. “They both have this trendy look, and I can wear them to work and look sophisticated or sexy at a nighttime event.”
Best shoe for a first date: Jessica Simpson. “I could wear them with pants, and they look like sophisticated sandals, but they fold over on the ankles and are black and silver.”
Most embarrassing pageant moment: “I’ve done enough runways to know that you need to wear comfortable shoes when you’re on stage and the whole world is watching. But when I decided to look really cute at practice, I wore a pair of shoes that didn’t belong to me, and I slipped on the stairs and fell.”
Favorite city for shopping: New York. “There are so many different boutiques. Greenwich Village is all shoe stores. If you name it, they have it.”
Favorite style for men: “I love Kenneth Cole shoes for men, and Jordan for sneakers.”
Shoe closet you’d most like to raid: Kim Kardashian’s or Mariah Carey’s. “Kim Kardashian has trendy style, like me. She’ll wear a simple outfit, but she’ll stand out with hot shoes.”
Trend you wish would go away: “Clear plastic shoes and obnoxious 8-inch platform shoes with jeans during the day. [You should] consider the time of day and dress appropriately.”
Next purchase: Ernesto Esposito sandals. “They are so hot, and they’re $653. They’re something that everybody should own, so everybody can feel like a beauty queen.”