Texas

Friendlywood model and fashion designer R’Bonnie Gabriel is the new Miss Universe.

The Houston native beat 83 other women in New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS. Friendlywood model and fashion designer R’Bonnie Gabrielle won the 71st Miss Universe pageant on Saturday night in New Orleans.

Gabrielle beat 83 other women during the competition. The 28-year-old made history back in October when she became the first Filipina to win Miss USA. She was also the first Filipina to win Miss Texas.

During the dramatic announcement of the winner, Gabrielle closed her eyes and shook hands with Miss Venezuela runner-up Amanda Dudamel, then beamed after her name was announced.

Loud music was heard, and she was handed a bouquet of flowers, wrapped in the winner’s belt and crowned with a tiara right on the stage.

The second runner-up was Miss Dominican Republic Andreina Martinez.

In a Q&A session for the final three finalists, Gabrielle was asked how she would work to demonstrate that Miss Universe is an “empowering and progressive organization” if she wins.

“I would use him to be a transformational leader,” she replied, citing her work using recycled materials in fashion design and teaching sewing to victims of human trafficking and domestic violence.

“It is very 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 sow those seeds to other people in our lives, we transform them and use that as a vehicle for change.”

According to Miss Universe, Gabriel is a former high school volleyball player and graduate of the University of North Texas. She is the Lead Sewing Instructor for Magpies & Peacocks, a Houston-based non-profit organization dedicated to “collecting and responsibly utilizing used clothing, textile waste, and landfill accessories.” .

Miss Curaçao Gabriela Dos Santos and Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Carino rounded out the top five.

Last year’s winner was Harnaaz Sandhu from India.

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