Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel wins Miss Universe Competition
The crown in the 71st Miss Universe pageant went to the first Filipina-American to win Miss USA on Saturday night at the international beauty pageant in New Orleans.
R’Bonney Gabriel, a designer, model and sewing instructor from Texas, beat out 83 other contestants.
Gabriel closed his eyes and shook hands with Miss Venezuela runner-up Amanda Dudamel during the dramatic reveal of the winner, then beamed after her name was announced.
Great music played and she was presented with a bouquet of flowers, wrapped around the winner’s sash and crowned with a tiara on stage.
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The Miss Universe organization suspended the organizers of the Miss USA pageant – Miss Brand Corp – after allegations emerged that the pageant was rigged and the winner was fixed in October 2022.
Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss USA on October 3rd.
Shortly after her win, contestants began complaining that she was “pre-selected” to be the next headliner.
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Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel, back on camera, is hugged by fellow contestants after being crowned Miss Universe at the 71st Miss Universe pageant, in New Orleans on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu held back tears and nearly collapsed as she took the stage for the last time.
She has put on weight since winning the crown and said in August 2022 that she was constantly criticized on social media.
“I was bullied for gaining weight,” said the Indian-born beauty queen. “It was kind of uncomfortable and really surprising to me to see how people started having opinions, which shouldn’t really matter. It’s not about how you look, it’s about who you are on the inside and how you treat people and what you believe in.”
The second runner-up of Saturday’s pageant was Miss Dominican Republic, Andreina Martinez.
In the pageant’s final Q&A for the three finalists, Gabriel was asked how she would work to demonstrate that Miss Universe is “an empowering and progressive organization” if she were to win.
“I would use it to be a transformational leader,” she replied, citing her work using recycled materials in her fashion designs and teaching sewing to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. .
The final three contestants react during the 71st Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. From left are Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel, Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel and Miss Dominican Republic Andreína Martínez. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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“It’s so important to invest in others, invest in our community and use your unique talent to make a difference,” Gabriel continued. “We all have something special, and when we plant those seeds in other people in our lives, we transform them and use that as a tool for change.”
Fox News’ Stephanie Nolasco, Lauryn Overhultz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.