R’Bonney Gabriel, a sewing instructor and model hailing from Texas, was crowned Miss Universe on Saturday, with competition officials saying that she is the first Filipino American to win Miss USA.
Coming up against runner-up Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel, Gabriel’s name was announced as the winner of the 71st edition of the beauty pageant.
Handed a bouquet of flowers, she was draped in the iconic winner’s sash and crowned with a tiara on the stage of the competition held in New Orleans. During the Q&A at the last stage of the competition, Gabriel revealed that she would intend to use the Miss Universe win to become a transformational leader.
She intends to do so by continuing her work of using recycled materials in hr fashion design as well as teaching sewing to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.
Up to 90 contestants competed in this year’s edition of the competition, with Malta’s very own Maxine Formosa Gruppetta representing the island this year. Gruppetta won Miss Congeniality, an award given to contestants who inspire others with their energy and kindness.