Neon Vincent (darksumomo) wrote,
Neon Vincent

Obligatory famous person from the past post--Julie Hayek is *not* the first Arab-American Miss USA

For several months now, I've made one post a month about a famous person from my past. Since the month is going to run out in 10 minutes here, I'd better hurry.

The announcement of the crowning of Rimah Fakih as Miss USA earlier this month came with a lot of sturm und drang over her being the first Arab-American to win the crown. Wikipedia itself states:

A native of Lebanon, as a child Fakih moved to the United States with her family. As a Muslim and an Arab, she is reputed to be the first person of her nationality, ethnicity or religion to be named Miss USA. In 2008, she traveled back to Lebanon to compete in the Miss Lebanon Emigrant pageant, placing third.
For a while, inforation on the web indicated that not only was Rima not the first Arab-American, but she wasn't even the first Lebanese-American. That information indicated that my fellow UCLA alum Julie Hayek had a Lebanese father. That was news to me; I went to school with her and thought she was Czech. It looks like Wikipedia caught up with reality. Here's what the site says now.

Hayek is of Czech and German descent on her father's side.[2][3] Her father was an airline pilot and her mother, Peggy, a high school guidance counselor.[1][4] She graduated from UCLA with a degree in biology.
Turns out that the Detroit Free Press was on the job to track down the truth.

Detroit Free Press: Confirmed: Miss USA Rima Fakih first Arab-American winner
It is indeed true that Rima Fakih is the first open Arab-American to win Miss USA.

False claims on blogs, Wikipedia, and even some mainstream media outlets have asserted -- without any reporting -- that Miss USA 1983, Julie Hayek, was an Arab-American with roots in Lebanon.

But Hayek says that is not true.

Contacted by the Free Press, Miss USA 1983 said that she has no ancestry in the Arab world at all and is not Arab-American.

"I am not Arabic," Hayek told the Free Press on Wednesday. "I am Czech. Hayek is of Czech descent."
That's what I'd thought for years, too. Glad to see that confirmed.

You might be wondering, is Julie connected to show business, like all the rest of the famous people from my past that I've blogged about? Of course she is. I'm originally from Los Angeles. Do you think I'd blog about sports figures?
Tags: detroit, hollywood, real life, ucla

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