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Miss USA 2010 – Her Financial Payoff, My Financial Advice

{ Posted on May 21 2010 by Marcus Alston }

You may have heard that on May 16, 2010, Rima Fakih won the Miss USA 2010 Pageant and that she is believed to be the first Arab-American, Muslim or immigrant to win the Miss USA title.  The blogosphere went wild with the news and made her name one of the top search terms on the net.  Everyone wanted to know more about her and pictures of her pole dancing in shorts and a tank top surfaced and threatened to smear her.  I did not watch the pageant, but all the buzz made me wonder, what kind of compensation does the winner receive for winning the Miss USA pageant, especially considering the instant fame and scrutiny?

Financial Benefit. Rima Fakih will receive significant compensation for her accomplishment, including: a custom diamond tiara and jewelry; a one year lease in a luxury New York City apartment, including living expenses; an undisclosed year-long salary as Miss USA (was reported as $40,000 back in 2001); casting opportunities and professional representation by the Miss Universe Organization; a one year scholarship (including housing) from the New York Film Academy; extensive travel opportunities representing sponsors and charitable partners; and the opportunity to represent the United States at Miss Universe 2010 this summer in Las Vegas.  Lesser prizes include:  a shoe wardrobe; hair care products; evening wear wardrobe; a video camcorder; luggage, membership to a fitness center, and hair services; modeling portfolio; dermatology and skincare services; professional health and nutrition consultation and dental services; a year-long consultation with a fashion stylist and access to a personal appearance wardrobe.

Besides these 1 year benefits, there is the fame and attention and the platform to reach thousands national wide and to do charitable work. She can also serve as a positive role model to other young women.  History would say that her fame will not last (see the list of the winners since 2000 below).  How about Vanessa Williams, you say?  Well she has had staying power with hit songs and respectable acting roles.  She won over 25 years ago in 1984, but that was the Miss America pageant, not the Miss USA pageant.

Financial Advice for Miss USA.  My advice to Ms. Fakih is to budget your money and plan on a solid career.  Also, her lifestyle will be artificially inflated right now, so she will have to be careful not to incur a lot of debt after a year or so when she has to pay for these things herself.  Make sure you can live below your means when your Miss USA reign ends and not above them– manage your credit cards wisely.  Also, while your expenses are being paid during your 1 year as Miss USA, you should save 50-80% or more of your salary and other compensation and put it away for your future.  I understand she is already planning on law school so maybe she will become a lawyer which is a solid financial career choice.  Law school costs money too, so be prepared.  Finally, enjoy your reign as Miss USA, you deserve this once in a lifetime experience and your moment to shine.

Notes:  Representatives of the 50 states and the District of Columbia competed for the title in the Miss USA 2010 pageant.  Pageant officials said historical pageant records were not detailed enough to confirm whether Ms. Fakih was in fact the first Arab-American, Muslim or immigrant to win the Miss USA title. The pageant started in Long Beach, California in 1952 as a local bathing suit competition.  Miss USA will represent the United States at the Miss Universe 2010 pageant in Las Vegas which is scheduled for August 23, 2010.

Miss USA Winners since 2000

2000 Lynnette Cole

2001 Kandace Krueger

2002 Shauntay Hinton

2003 Susie Castillo

2004  Shandi Finnessey

2005  Chelsea Cooley

2006  Tara Conner

2007  Rachel Smith

2008  Crystle Stewart

2009  Kristen Dalton

2010  Rima Kakih

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