Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel is first Filipino-American to wear the tiara, Latest Fashion News - The New Paper

Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel is first Filipino-American to wear the tiara

NEW ORLEANS – Fashion designer-model R’Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss Universe last Saturday night, the first Filipino-American to don the tiara.

Coming in second was Amanda Dudamel, 23, of Venezuela, while Andreina Martinez, 25, from the Dominican Republic took third place in the competition held in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Gabriel, 28, is the first American to win the beauty pageant since 2012, when Olivia Cuplo, 30, who hosted this year’s show, was given the crown.

Gabriel, who hails from Texas, calls herself “a very proud Filipina Texan”.

“My dad moved to America from the Philippines on a college scholarship with about US$20 in his pocket,” she said in an interview with ABC News’ local affiliate in Houston in October 2022.

“He wanted to pave a new life for himself. He met my mum in Texas. She is a country woman from Beaumont.”

In the Q&A segment of the pageant, Gabriel was asked how she would work to demonstrate Miss Universe is “an empowering and progressive organisation”.

“I would use it to be a transformational leader,” she said, citing her work using recycled materials in her fashion design and teaching sewing to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.

According to her bio on the Miss Universe website, she is the chief executive of her own sustainable clothing line.

“It is so important to invest in others, invest in our community and use your unique talent to make a difference,” she added.

“We all have something special, and when we plant those seeds in other people in our life, we transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change.”

More than 80 contestants, including Singapore’s Carissa Yap, 22, took part in the competition. Last year’s winner was Harnaaz Sandhu, 22, of India.

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