Miss USA is battling it out with a ‘Top Model‘ for a contract to compete in the WWE.
Pageant queen Rima Fakih and reality star Michelle Deighton — a 6th place finisher on Tyra Banks’ modeling show – are among 13 hopefuls on the new USA series “Tough Enough,” premiering April 4.
“We are both good looking, we both have diva personalities, and we are good friends,” Michelle, 25, says. “I think the girls…we had to bond together.”
On the show, hosted by Stone Cold Steve Austin the contestants (male and female) share a house in Los Angeles and compete in weekly challenges to see who has the talent and stamina to become a superstar in the ring.
“I was the underdog from day one,” Rima, 25, tells xfinityTV. “And I was picked on. The contestants, the majority of them knew I was Miss USA and they just couldn’t wait to get under my skin about ‘what the heck are you doing here.’ But I didn’t let that bother me.”
Neither did Michelle – the wife of “Survivor” villain Jonny Fairplay – who admits she wasn’t always taken seriously by the other contestants, despite her previous wrestling experience.
“You go into a house with a bunch of guys that have been in the business for so long, they are automatically like ‘There’s girls here, not a problem. They’ll be gone soon,’” she says. “And I’m like ‘No, no, no. We are good looking. We can kick ass. You should be worried.’”
Michelle first climbed in the ring almost a dozen years ago. She learned many of her moves by mimicking YouTube videos of her WWE idols in backyard ring in rural Indiana.
“I had always wanted to be a model and a wrestler if I could work those two together,” she says. “So when the opportunity to do ‘America’s Next Top Model’ came up, I chose to be where the modeling world would take me.”
But after the show, Michelle admits she was turned down by more than 50 agencies. “They don’t want to invest in someone who has the potential of getting injured or getting their face messed up,” she says.
For Rima — a tomboy while growing up in Queens, New York – becoming a WWE Diva has been a lifelong dream.
“I always thought they were such great examples of someone I could relate myself to,” she says. “They can be sexy, beautiful and tough. And being Middle Eastern, it is tough for girls to be modeling and in beauty pageants and wearing bathing suits.”
The winner of “Tough Enough” will be crowned on June 6.