R’Bonney Gabriel is first Filipina American Miss USA

Philippine American History Month seems to have got off to a good start, especially for Miss USA winner R’Bonney Gabriel.

On Monday, the Texas model and designer became the first Filipino-American to be crowned Miss USA in the pageant’s decade-long history. Miss North Carolina Morgan Romano was first runner-up at the ceremony at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev.

With the Miss USA crown under his belt (or on his head), Gabriel will now represent the United States at the Miss Universe 2022 pageant. This competition will take place on January 14, 2023 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Not only is Gabriel a milestone for the Filipino and Asian American communities, but she is also the first Texan queen to take home the grand prize since 2008, when Crystle Stewart won the crown.

Gabriel showcased her Filipino heritage during the interview portion of Monday’s ceremony. She designed her own jumpsuit with floral detailing on mesh sleeves and a traditional Filipino silhouette.

“I designed this to pay tribute to my parents. My mother is from Beaumont, TX and my father is from the Philippines. They got married in Manila, Philippines,” she said of her ensemble on Instagram. “I painted the same floral design as my mother’s wedding dress on my sleeves and tied it in a traditional Maria Clara Filipina collar shape. I am very grateful for the opportunities my parents have given me and wanted to express my love for them 🙏🏼 🇺🇸🇵🇭.”

While wearing her own design, Gabriel spoke about her approach to tackling the climate crisis.

“I actually made the outfit I’m wearing myself and recycle parts, recycle different garments to be more sustainable in my industry because I feel it is my duty,” she replied to Soo Yeon Lee’s question. “I think that’s something we can all look at in our particular industries or in our homes for ways to also be sustainable.”

Before becoming the new Miss USA, Gabriel, 28, was the first Filipino-American to be crowned Miss Texas USA in July. Following her victory, Gabriel said Filipino girls and women reached out to her on social media.

“They cry tears of joy because they’re inspired to seek pomp or something,” she told Houston Life. “Like I’m paving the way for them to just do what they want, no matter what it is.”

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-10-05/miss-usa-rbonney-gabriel-historic-win-first-filipina-woman R’Bonney Gabriel is first Filipina American Miss USA

Sarah Ridley

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