On January 14, 2023, R'Bonney Gabriel was crowned as the winner of the 2022 Miss Universe beauty pageant held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, USA.
7 unique things about newly-crowned Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel
At 28, R'Bonney made history as the eldest woman to compete and win Miss Universe
Embedded with 110 carats of blue carats and sapphires, and carats of white diamonds, R'Bonney now wears the $5.5 million crown made by Lebanese jeweler Mouawad.
She replaces Miss India Harnaaz Sandhu, who made history as the first Indian to take the title in 21 years.
The beauty pageant competitions came in early 2023 after they had been postponed in 2022 to avoid clashing with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Now seeking to highlight more important concepts such as gender equality and women’s rights, the 71st edition of the Miss Universe contest attracted participants from 84 countries and was hosted by presenter Jeannie Mai and the 2012 Miss Universe winner, Culpo.
Gabriel beat all the other 83 contestants to take the title back to the USA, 10 years after their last win.
So who is this beauty queen? Here are some facts you didn't know about her.
1. The eldest to ever compete in the miss universe pageant
Born March 20, 1994, Gabriel is currently 28 years old and has made history as the eldest to ever compete in a beauty pageant.
While answering a question on how she will use her title to empower and create progress, she stated that age does not define who we are and should not be used as a criterion to allow people to showcase their passion and strengths
"I am 28 years old, and that is the oldest age to compete and I think that'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 that you can go after what you want," she said.
2. The eldest to win Miss USA
At 28 years, 6 months, and 13 days, R'Bonney Gabriel was also the oldest to win the 71st Miss USA pageant held on October 3, 2022, at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, surpassing Cheslie Kryst in 2019, who was also 28 when she crowned the title.
3. She is the first Filipino–American to win the Miss Universe title
R' Bonney Gabriel was born in Antonio Texas. Her father Remigio Bonzon 'R.Bon' Gabriel is a Filipino immigrant from Manila who only moved to the USA to study at the University of Southern California before meeting and later marrying a US citizen Dana Walker.
Although the title went down to America, Gabriel also takes pride in her Filipino culture. This, she displayed during the preliminary rounds for Miss USA 2022 when she paid homage to Miss Maria Clara, a feminist hero of the Philippines.
4. Took a degree in fashion design and graduated in 2018
The 28-year-old beauty first graduated from a private school in San Antonio. She then joined Francisco University where she graduated with a degree in fashion and design in 2018.
5. Owns a fashion & design company
When Gabriel realized how passionate she was about fashion and design, she thought creating her line would be the perfect opportunity to help others, especially women.
She owns her label, R’Bonney Nola, where they use sustainable practices to design everything from dresses to T-shirts among other products.
"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. Gabriel said just before receiving the miss universe title," she stated.
6. Works as a lead sewing instructor in a nonprofit design house
In line with her values and goals, Gabriel works as a sewing instructor for a nonprofit design house, ‘Magpies & Peacocks’ in Houston.
The organization uses fashion and design to champion sustainability and positive community impacts. Gabriel revealed that she teaches women who have survived human trafficking and gender violence.
7. Designs her looks for the pageants
The beauty queen has on several occasions pointed out how she uses her fashion design skills to style her looks by designing and redesigning from previous outfits.
She designed most of her pageant gowns such as the ones she wore during Miss Texas and Miss USA pageants'.
A post on her Instagram account shows how she one time redesigned a dress from an old red coat that she had worn before.
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