Fil-Am Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel crowned Miss USA 2022
R’Bonney Gabriel, a 28-year-old Fil-Am fashion designer, has been crowned Miss USA 2022. Elle Smith, the winner of Miss USA 2021, crowned Gabriel yesterday night at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada.
This year’s competition for the title of Miss USA was tight, with many women fighting to be crowned. In her victory, Gabriel defeated favorites like Miss Nebraska Natalie Pieper and Miss North Carolina Morgan Romano. Gabriel also became the first Filipino American to win the pageant.
View this post on Instagram
In an interview with Houston Life, Gabriel said that she was honored to be crowned and make way for Filipinas across the world.
“I’m getting messages on Instagram and just social media of Filipina girls and women telling me they’re so excited, they’re so happy,” Gabriel said. “They’re crying tears of joy because they are inspired to go after pageantry or something. Like I’m paving the way for them to just go after whatever they want no matter what it is.”
An immigrant parent’s dream come true
Gabriel’s father, like many Filipino immigrants, came to the United States from Manila when he was only nineteen years old. Later, he met and married Gabriel’s mother – a native of Beaumont, Texas – and the two married in Manila.
Because of her feather’s story, Gabriel feels that the Miss USA title is not just her own personal victory but also an opportunity to inspire others to embrace their identities by sharing her multicultural background.
“My dad moved to America from the Philippines on a college scholarship with about $20 in his pocket. He wanted to pave a new life for himself,” Gabriel said in an interview with ABC News. “I’m a very proud Filipina Texan.”
R’Bonney Gabriel will represent the United States at the upcoming 71st Miss Universe pageant, on Jan. 14, 2023, in New Orleans.