R’Bonney Gabriel had everyone’s attention on Oct. 3, when she was crowned the 2022 Miss USA during the live broadcast of the popular pageant. The 28-year-old beauty, who represented Texas, looked gorgeous in a sparkly gold gown and dangling earrings as she accepted the top honor with a crown and bouquet of flowers. She looked shocked and thrilled as she walked down the runway of the show and waved and blew kisses to the excited crowd.
So, just who is R’Bonney and how did she work her way to the iconic role of Miss USA? Find out more about her below.
R’Bonney is the first Asian American woman to represent Miss Texas USA.
She made history when she stepped out on the stage the night of the Miss USA pageant and now that she’s won, she will go on to make history at the Miss Universe pageant. R’Bonney was crowned Miss Texas USA this past summer, which can be seen in the video above, and it qualified her to represent her state at this year’s Miss USA. Averie Bishop, an Asian American from Dallas, TX, also made history as the first Asian American woman to be crowned Miss Texas America and will go on to compete in the Miss America pageant in Dec. The ladies’ achievements are a big deal and show how far the country has come since there was a point in time when “non-white” women were banned from competing in pageants.
She is Filipina.
Due to her descent, R’Bonney said she feels a “big responsibility” to share her background and encourage others to do the same. “My dad moved to America from the Philippines on a college scholarship with about $20 in his pocket,” she told ABC News’ local affiliate in Houston. “He wanted to pave a new life for himself. He met my mom in Texas, who is a country woman from Beaumont. I’m a very proud Filipina Texan.”
R’Bonney’s state costume for Miss USA was a representation of the Texas state flower.
The competitor looked incredible in a bright blue bodysuit with silver sequins that honored the Texas bluebonnet. She also wore matching boots and a headpiece with the look, and took to Instagram to share several photos and video of the epic costume. “I was so excited to find out Miss USA had a state costume portion! I knew I wanted to be the Texas state flower, a bluebonnet, but with a glamour twist. Thank you @patrick_isorena for bringing the vision to life 💙,” she wrote in the caption.
She makes some of her own costumes.
The talented gal often shares video clips of herself helping to create what she’s going to wear in front of national audiences, and there’s always special meaning into what she comes up with and the fabric she uses. In July, she posted a video of her Miss Texas opening dress being made and revealed she loves to “re-use old pieces” of clothing to help avoid the pollution that the fashion industry can cause.
“Re-constructed a red coat from @magpiespeacocks to make my Miss Texas USA opening number dress. With fashion being one of the largest polluting industries in the world, I love to re-use old pieces to make something new and fabulous to cut down on waste ✨❤️ #sustainablefashion #ecofashion #handmadecouture,” she wrote in the caption.
R’Bonney teaches sewing for a good cause.
The new winner teaches sewing at the Magpies and Peacocks fashion house in Houston, TX. In the classes, she shows students how to make different pieces using fabrics and textiles from remnants. The classes are part of the nonprofit’s MAKR Collective program, which offers different life skills to trauma victims, including domestic violence survivors, with the hopes that they can learn a new skill.