Miss USA R'bonney Gabriel has been crowned as the 71st Miss Universe in the annual international competition, which was held in New Orleans this year with a worldwide live broadcast through Roku Channel. She is the first Filipino American to win the title by competing with over 80 women from various parts of the world.
Bonney Is the lead sewing instructor at a Houston-based non-profit design house named Magpies & Peacocks. She is a fashion designer with a bachelor's degree in Fashion Design with a Minor in Fiber from the University of North Texas. She is also a model who prioritizes sustainable development in her work.
From her most talked about the costume to her winning answer, here is everything to know about Miss USA R'bonney Gabriel, the winner of Miss Universe 2023.
The beauty queen, 28, wore a moon costume that weighed nearly 33 pounds (15kgs) for the National Costume Show. She included an actual scale-sized moon with an intricate frame of gleaming stars and an outfit with white, red, and blue lights for paying homage to NASA's Artemis program and the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
The fashion designer held the moon over her head and surrounded the stars and lights over her body. She completed her look by carrying an American Flag.
"On July 20, 1969, two U.S. astronauts became the first humans to step foot on the moon accomplishing one of the most remarkable achievements in human history. Fast forward to today, and women are involved more than ever in the Artemis program aiming to send the US back to the moon," Miss USA wrote about the costume on her Instagram page.
When R'Bonney made the Top 5, the contestant was asked about the change she would like to bring in the next Miss Universe contest. Her answer got her to the Top 3. She spoke about allowing older women to participate in the competition.
"Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change allowing mothers and married women to compete in the next pageant. What's another change you'd like to see and why?" She was asked.
"For me, I would like to see an age increase because I am 28 years old. And that is the oldest age to compete. I think it's a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is 'If not now, then when?' Because as a woman, I believe age does not define us. It's not tomorrow, it's not yesterday—but it's now. The time is now," the beauty queen responded.
The Final Response
When Miss USA made the Top 3, she was asked about her plans to work with the organization for demonstrating it as an empowering and progressive organization.
The question - If you win Miss Universe, how will you work to demonstrate this is an empowering and progressive organization?
Her response - I would use it to be a transformational leader. As a very passionate designer, I've been sewing for 13 years, I use fashion as a force for good. In my industry, I'm cutting down on pollution through recycled materials when I make my clothing. I teach sewing classes to women that have survived human trafficking and domestic violence. And I say that because it is so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference. 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.