Celebrity

Category: Pageants

Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010, pleads no contest in DUI case

Rima Fakih in court.

Rima Fakih, crowned Miss USA in 2010, cut a deal related to her December arrest in Michigan on suspicion of drunk driving and on Wednesday pleaded no contest in court to driving while visibly impaired.

The beauty queen -- who has since spent some time in the wrestling arena -- still faces up to 93 days in jail when she is sentenced May 9, but her attorney said he expected that she would get probation that could be served from afar, in California.

"You learn, you pay your price for making mistakes and you move on. I'm very happy I can put this behind me," Fakih, 26, said outside court. "I'm just going to move on and make sure I learn my lessons."

A trial on charges of drunken driving, careless driving and having an open container of alcohol had been planned; driving while visibly impaired is a lesser offense, and ostensibly the answer to Fakih's Twitter request earlier Wednesday: "Today is the big day...pray for me guys! Love u," she'd said, hours after tweeting that she couldn't sleep.

So what was she doing when she was pulled over in the wee hours Dec. 3? Police said Fakih was hitting 60 mph in a 30 mph zone and weaving in and out of traffic in a 2011 Jaguar -- in which officers said they found an open half-bottle of bubbly.

One breath test reportedly put her blood alcohol content at 0.20 percent, and another put it at 0.19 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent.

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— Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Former Miss USA Rima Fakih is sworn in as she faces DUI charges in Highland Park, Mich., on Wednesday. Credit: Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News



Miss Universe to allow transgender entries; Talackova to compete

Jenna Talackova

Jenna Talackova is back on for the Miss Universe Canada pageant, now that the Miss Universe organization has stricken down its rule requiring a contestant to be a "naturally born woman."

The organization, along with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, on Tuesday announced that the competition would become open to transgender women. Talackova, whose Canadian passport lists her as female, had been disqualified in late March after the pageant became aware of her past as a man.

Though she specifically was allowed back in on April 2, Talackova held out for a larger rule change, arguing that in the future no other transgender woman should have to face what she did.

"The Miss Universe Organization today follows institutions that have taken a stand against discrimination of transgender women including the Olympics, NCAA, the Girl Scouts of America and the CW’s 'America’s Next Top Model,' " GLAAD spokesman Herndon Graddick said in a statement, which also thanked pageant owner Donald Trump and his team for what Graddick called their swift and appropriate response

So much for Gloria Allred on "The View" on Monday with a gracious Talackova at her side, framing the situation as "Donald Trump zero, Gloria Allred one"?

"The decision to include transgender women in our beauty competitions is a result of our ongoing discussions with GLAAD and not Jenna’s legal representation, which if anything delayed the process," Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said in a statement. "We have a long history of supporting equality for all women, and this was something we took very seriously."

On Tuesday morning, Talackova's name and picture had been returned to the ranks of the Canadian pageant's 2012 contestants.

Watch Talackova's Monday appearance on "The View," which thanks to Barbara Walters includes discussion of her gender-reassignment surgery, below.

 

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Jenna Talackova out of Miss Universe Canada for being transgender

Jenna Talackova can now compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant but will she?

— Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Jenna Talackova and her passport at an April 3 press conference. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press

 


Jenna Talackova can compete in Miss Universe Canada, but will she?

Jenna Talackova

Jenna Talackova can compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant, as long as she's legally female, but the transgender beauty queen wants it spelled out plainly, plus a little bit more to make sure the situation doesn't happen to someone else.

The organization, owned by Donald Trump, on Monday said Talackova was back in "provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions."

Talackova had been disqualified because of a rule stating contestants must be "naturally born" females; the Vancouver, Canada, contestant was born male, self-identified as female at age 4, underwent hormone therapy starting at 14 and received gender-reassignment surgery at 19.

"I am a woman," she said Tuesday. "I was devastated and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust."

With attorney Gloria Allred at her side, Talackova said she'd seen the pageant's statement and found it "quite confusing."

"I wish Mr. Trump would just say, in plain words, whether or not I will be allowed to compete and, if I win, whether I will be allowed to represent Canada in the Miss Universe competition," Talackova said. "I also want Mr. Trump to clearly state that this rule will be eliminated because I do not want any other woman to suffer the discrimination that I have to endure."

Talackova presented her Canadian passport showing her gender as female. Allred noted that legal teams had been formed in L.A., New York and Canada aimed at ridding the contest of the rule.

In addition to her client's statement, Allred noted that her client never asked to see the Donald's genitals, or asked him to prove he was a naturally born male. Trump, of course, had a reply regarding his penis.

"I think Gloria would be very, very, very impressed with me," he told TMZ on Tuesday, moving on to note that based on the laws of Canada and the United States regarding gender, Talackova may compete if she wants to. "We go by the law."

However, he said, "There'll be no apology whatsoever" on Allred's behalf, "and frankly, if [Talackova] competes that's wonderful, and if she doesn't want to compete because maybe she thinks she can't win, that's wonderful. I couldn't care less."

"The Miss Universe Organization made the right decision and has taken an important first step," said Herndon Graddick, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. "Now, GLAAD urges the Organization to include all women and use this incident to speak out in support of the transgender community." GLAAD said Tuesday that it was working with the Miss Universe organization to review current policies.

As of Wednesday morning, Talackova's picture had not yet been returned to the ranks of the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant contestants.

RELATED:

Miss Universe 2011 winner is Miss Angola, Leila Lopes

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Jenna Talackova out of Miss Universe Canada for being transgender

— Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

Photo: Jenna Talackova at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Talackova appeared with attorney Gloria Allred. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images


Jenna Talackova out of Miss Universe Canada for being transgender

 

As far as Miss Universe Canada is concerned, it seems the "Miss" part of the competition has to start at birth — particularly for ousted contestant Jenna Talackova, who was born male and who said she self-identified as female at age 4 and underwent gender reassignment surgery at 19.

"Jenna Talackova from Vancouver, British Columbia, will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form," the pageant organization said Friday in a statement. "We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best."

Miss Universe Canada, which is owned by Donald Trump and feeds its winner into the Miss Universe pageant, selected Talackova to be one of its 65 finalists for the 2012 competition, which will see its crown awarded May 19 in Toronto. Eligibility requirements for various feeders into the Miss Universe system indicate that a contestant must be female and never have been married or pregnant. The rules for Miss California, which feeds into Miss USA and then into Miss Universe, include the broad requirement that contestants "must be of good health and moral character."

Talackova, 23, declined to be interviewed last week by a Canadian news outlet, saying she first had to consult with her lawyer. However, on her now-private Twitter account, she reportedly wrote, "I'm disqualified, however I'm not giving up. I'm not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination."

Asked in 2010 whether she regarded herself as a transgender or as a woman,  a winking Talackova replied, "I regard myself as a woman -- with a history."

Fast-forward to around the eight-minute mark in the video below to see Talackova interviewed at the 2010 Miss International Queen transsexual/transgender pageant held in Thailand — and be warned, there are some surgical specifics.

 

RELATED:

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— Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville
Christie D'Zurilla on Google+

 


Laura Kaeppeler, Miss Wisconsin, crowned Miss America 2012

Laura Kaeppeler is crowned Miss America by Teresa Scanlon

Laura Kaeppeler of Kenosha, Wis., was crowned Miss America on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The 23-year-old played it down the middle -- or maybe went around the issue? -- in answering a judge's question about whether beauty queens should be open about their political beliefs.

"Miss America represents everyone, so I think the message to political candidates is that they represent everyone as well," Kaeppeler said. "And so in these economic times, we need to be looking forward to what America needs, and I think Miss America needs to represent all."

Well played, Miss Wisconsin -- criticizing Occupy Wall Street helped earn Miss New York Kaitlin Monte second runner-up.

Kaeppeler, who donned a white bikini (showing more skin than in years past) and black beaded gown during the competition, shared her talent for opera singing in edging out Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson, the first runner-up. Miss California Noelle Freeman, who danced a Black Swan variation from "Swan Lake," took fourth runner-up.

Teresa Scanlan, Miss America 2011, tweeted her congratulations to Kaeppeler after the show, and sent a photo that was taken backstage of herself with a few of the ladies.

Meanwhile on Twitter, Rima Fakih, Miss USA 2010, was talking a little cross-pageant smack, saying "miss america is the girl next door, miss usa is the girl u WiSH lived next door." (And hey Laura, get excited for what the beauty-queen future might hold once your official duties are done -- on Sunday, Rima was  tweeting about attending a Golden Globe Awards party and posing with Kim Kardashian.)

Kaeppeler, who will hold the Miss America title for a year, won a $50,000 scholarship. Her platform during the competition was supporting and mentoring children whose parents are behind bars. Her own father had served 18 months for mail fraud while she was graduating high school and starting college.

The win "taught us that God can turn anything into good if you let him," father Jeff Kaeppler said backstage. "Laura is totally on board with that idea. She let that drive her and inspire her this past year to get ready for this."

RELATED:

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Miss America 2012 contestants get sexy in new pageant swimwear

-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Laura Kaeppeler is crowned 2012 Miss America by outgoing Miss America Teresa Scanlan in Las Vegas on Saturday. Credit: Brian Jones / European Pressphoto Agency



Miss Universe 2011 winner is Miss Angola, Leila Lopes [Video]

2011 Miss Universe winner Leila Lopes is crowned by Ximena Navarrete, Miss Universe 2010

A new Miss Universe was crowned Monday night: She's Miss Angola, business student Leila Lopes, and she plans to work on HIV advocacy worldwide, in addition to helping her own country.

"As Miss Angola I've already done a lot to help my people," Lopes, 25, said Tuesday morning after taking home the crown. "I've worked with various social causes. I work with poor kids, I work in the fight against HIV. I work to protect the elderly and I have to do everything that my country needs.

"I think now as Miss Universe I will be able to do much more."

Photos: Miss Universe 2011 Top 10, formal wear and swimsuit pictures

Those who weren't watching the Denver Broncos notch a loss to the Oakland Raiders were treated to a parade of international hotties doing their pageant thing in Sao Paulo, Brazil -- and that "pageant thing" of course includes a final round of questions for the Top 5.

This year's questions included three that might've come directly from the Ministry of Gossip, plus a couple that clearly were not loaded with any political agenda whatsoever:

  • Nude beaches are common in some parts of the world. Is public nudity appropriate or inappropriate and why?
  • If you could change one of your physical characteristics, which one would it be and why?
  • If you could trade lives with anyone in history, who would it be and why?
  • Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love? Why and why not?
  • What would you do to avoid fighting a war that you did not agree with it?

Miss Philippines stuck to her guns on the faith front, saying she wouldn't marry a person if she had to convert to do so, and that a person who loved her would respect her enough to love her God too. Miss Angola stuck with her own physical characteristics, thanking God for doing right by her in the looks department and reminding people that we should all respect one another.

Continue reading »

Miss America 2011? It's Miss Nebraska, Teresa Scanlan

Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan Miss Nebraska Teresa Scanlan, 17, donned the crown as Miss America 2011 on Saturday night in Las Vegas, following in the footsteps of last year's queen, Caressa Cameron out of Virginia.

The winner of a $50,000 scholarship, she plans to go to law school and hopes to go into politics.

"At this point, attorneys and politicians are looked down on and have terrible reputations for being greedy and power hungry," the teen said, "and I really think it's important for people who have their heart and mind in the right place get into those powerful positions."

And how did she charm the judges, aside from the gown and swimsuit? She played the piano, and told judges she thinks security trumps the public's right to knowledge when it comes to leaked government information.

Scanlan is the first Miss America from Nebraska in the competition's 90 years. Her beauty queen diet? "I never passed up a cookie on my journey here," she said.

Click the picture for more photos from the 2011 Miss America Pageant.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Teresa Scanlan, Miss Nebraska, reacts after being named one of the top 15 finalists during the 2011 Miss America Pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on Jan. 15, 2011, in Las Vegas. Scanlan went on to be crowned the new Miss America. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

 


Miss USA Rima Fakih returns to Michigan to vote

Miss USA Rima Fakih at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt Among Tuesday's more obscure election results: At least one very pretty lady, Miss USA Rima Fakih, turned out to vote in Dearborn, Mich. 

Fakih, 25, flew in from New York to her 14th District hometown to pose for pics and cast one of almost 3.3 million midterm ballots in that state, where Rep. John Conyers (D-Dearborn), held his seat while a Republican took the governorship.

Such domestic things must be a jarring change of pace for the beauty queen, who in October was hanging out with camels and orphans in Egypt, special-needs kids in Qatar and members of the Army football team in West Point, N.Y.

Is it just us, or does the Miss USA job look like it might be a lot of fun? Check out a month's worth of pics and let us know.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih at the Giza Pyramids in Egypt on Oct. 4. Credit: Amr Nabil / Associated Press

Rima-fakih-football-game

Photo:  Rima Fakih strikes a pregame pose with Army football players who were not suiting up for the contest between Virginia Military Institute and Army in West Point, N.Y., on Oct. 30. Credit: Mike Groll / Associated Press

Continue reading »

Miss Universe win goes to Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete

Miss-universe-jimena-navarr

Miss-universe-hosts Jimena Navarrete, Miss Mexico, was crowned Miss Universe 2010 in Las Vegas on Monday night, taking over where the previous title holder, Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela, left off.

Others in the top five were Miss Australia, Jesinta Campbell; Miss Jamaica, Yendi Phillipps; Miss Ukraine, Anna Poslavska; and Miss Philippines, Venus Raj.

The 22-year-old answered a question about unsupervised Internet use, saying through an interpreter that the Internet's important, sure, but when it comes to kids online, "We must be sure to teach them the values that we learned as a family." (For the other questions -- hint: how about those airport scanners, eh? -- check in Las Vegas Weekly.)

And what of Rima Fakih, our own Miss USA? Alas, she didn't make the top 15 -- and according to Robin Leach on Twitter, she decided afterward "to be with family instead of being at pageant princess party in LAX at Luxor."

After the break: pictures of Navarrete with her grandma, and Fakih in a bikini. Because we can.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Continue reading »

Trust Miss USA Rima Fakih -- we Americans always wear stripper heels with our oversized eagle wings

Rima-fakih-eagle For anyone who's visiting this blog from outside the United States -- and we know you're there, 'cause you comment like crazy on posts about Michael Jackson and Angelina Jolie -- let the Ministry of Gossip break the news to you gently:  Americans don't dress like you think we dress.

The myths about Americans cruising around comfortably in Levi's and T-shirts? Or maybe in cheaply made stretch pants and XXXL T-shirts? Lies, lies, lies.

Here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we prefer to dress like Miss USA Rima Fakih did in the run-up to Monday's Miss Universe Pageant -- in golden-eagle outfits designed by a Victoria's Secret costumer and modeled after the bird on the presidential seal

Hey, y'all should see what we wear on the weekends.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Miss USA Rima Fakih poses during a parade at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Aug. 16, 2010. Credit: Patrick Prather / Reuters / Miss Universe Organization


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