Luxe Life Blog
Exclusive photos: Miss USA’s two-day visit ends with Criss Angel’s Believe
It was a 48-hour nonstop whirl for Miss USA’s first return visit to Las Vegas since being crowned, and this morning she flew to Houston before traveling to China. “I’ll sleep on the plane after this schedule,” Rima Fakih laughed with me last night.
Rima’s second day yesterday began with radio station interviews across the country to promote the Aug. 23 Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas for the first time in 14 years and ended under the spell of magician Criss Angel. We posted coverage yesterday of the 1996 pageant and our Flip-cam video interview with Rima now on YouTube.
The Miss Universe Organization will be headquartered at Mandalay Bay and Luxor for 21 days in August with 89 women participating in the prestigious contest, but only one walks away with the crown.
Rima volunteered at Nevada Cancer Institute yesterday and received a personal tour of MGM’s CityCenter by Aria President Bill McBeath. She slipped into a dazzling yellow bikini for a mass photo call at Mandalay Bay Beach, where the pageant will be telecast on NBC. Contributing photographer Erik Kabik captured Rima’s winning smile and poses.
Then it was on to the Luxor for another photo shoot with Luxor and Excalibur President Felix Rappaport, Fantasy star Angelica Bridges, knights from Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings, Menopause: The Musical star Sandra Benton, the violin-playing Alizma triplets and Criss, who stars at the Luxor in Cirque du Soleil’s Believe. Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue captured all the action, and I joined in the fun of the play pit as Rima took on blackjack dealer duties. Dinner was at Luxor’s Tender Steakhouse.
Call it magic, but Criss and Rima clicked when they met, and she promptly decided that despite her exhausting jam-packed schedule that began at dawn, she was going to squeeze in his show to top her visit. That’s going to start rumors, but let me advise that she was onboard her plane today, and Criss has shows tonight.
The first stop after dinner was The Lion King at Mandalay Bay, and then she raced back on high heels to Believe, which superstar Wayne Newton also attended. Even comic Carrot Top, who had hosted Rima at his show the night before, popped back into the picture.
Rima has a winning personality that simply captivates and charms everybody who meets her. Angelica said: “She’s just too darn cute and sharp as a tack. Ouch! We talked about beauty and that physical beauty is nothing without having inner light that shows the love shining through. That’s why she beat out all those other gorgeous contestants. She definitely has a lot of both of the inner and the outer beauty. We cannot wait to see how she does in August at Miss Universe.”
Criss said: “I was thrilled she accepted my invitation to come see Believe. She’s an extraordinary girl in every respect. She makes an immediate impact on everybody she meets. When she returns in August, she’s going to bring all the other Miss Universe contestants back to see our show.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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