Who Is R'Bonney Gabriel? Miss USA Becomes the First Filipino-American to Win Miss Universe Crown

Gabriel received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in Fashion Design from the University of North Texas.

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R'Bonney Gabriel of the USA has been crowned Miss Universe 2022! This was the first time in 11 years that a Miss USA has won the Miss Universe title. The diva was crowned by Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu at the 71st Miss Universe pageant's grand finale. The event took place on Saturday in New Orleans, USA.

The third place went to the Dominican Republic, with Venezuela taking the second spot. Olivia Culpo, a former Miss Universe, and Emmy winner Jeannie Mai Jenkins hosted the Miss Universe event, which was broadcast live in more than 165 nations on Saturday night.

On Top of the World

R'Bonney Gabriel
R'Bonney Gabriel was crowned the Miss Universe 2022 Twitter

Gabriel dazzled in the Miss Universe 2022 finale in a sparkling outfit. She accessorized her crystal-adorned gown with bold diamonds. The black dress featured stunning blue crystal work starting from her shoulder to her waist (from big stones to fine dust-like particles).

Gabriel's shoulder's rich stone-crystal work added extra drama to the outfit Miss Universe 2022 accessorized her look with simple dangling diamond earrings. She chose a light eye color and a red lip color for her cosmetics.

Harnaaz Sandhu, who brought the Miss Universe crown back to India after nearly two decades in 2021, dazzled in a stunning black gown with an elaborate train as she crowned her successor. Additionally, she appeared on stage at the event wearing a traditional lehenga.

One of the questions that the judges asked Gabriel was, "Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change allowing mothers and married women to compete this year. What's another change you'd like to see and why?" Her answer, which is now going viral on social media, was about how we should not be held back by our age.

R'Bonney Gabriel
The Miss Universe title went to Miss USA for the first time in 11 years Twitter

"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 favoritete quote is 'If not now, then when?' As a woman, I believe that age does not define us. It's not tomorrow, it's yesterday but it's now. The time is now that you can go after what you want," Gabriel replied.

The second question that she was asked was, "If you win Miss Universe, how will you work to demonstrate this is an empowering and progressive organization?"

Gabriel's response demonstrated her passion for her profession as a sewing instructor, model, and eco-friendly fashion designer.

"Well, I would use it to be a transformational leader. As a very passionate designer, 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 from 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 to other people in our life, we transform them, and we use that as a vehicle for change," she replied.

Creating History

Gabriel was born on March 20, 1994, in Houston, Texas. She is 28 years old and has three older brothers. Her mother, Dana Walker is an American from Texas. According to the official website of Miss Universe, she is the first Filipino-American to win Miss USA and wants to be the voice for Asian Americans. Her full name is R'Bonney Nola Gabriel.

R'Bonney Gabriel
R'Bonney Gabriel Twitter

Her father, Remigio Bonzon "R. Bon" Gabriel, moved to the United States from Manila, the Philippines at the age of 25. Gabriel told to ABC News in 2022 that her father arrived to the United States with just $20 in his pocket and a college scholarship.

Gabriel received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in Fashion Design from the University of North Texas. She wants to change the fashion business and emphasize environmentally friendly clothing in a bid to reduce pollution. She frequently designs her own clothing and won Miss Texas USA wearing a gown made out of a used coat.

R'Bonney Gabriel
R'Bonney Gabriel Twitter

Her hobbies include backpacking, hula hooping, sewing and reading. Also, she is the ninth American in history and the first since Olivia Culpo (Miss Universe 2012) to be crowned Miss Universe.

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This article was first published on January 15, 2023
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