Houston native R’Bonnie Gabrielle won the Miss Universe title.

R’Bonnie Gabrielle, a 28-year-old Houston native, was crowned the 71st Miss Universe pageant on Saturday while competing in the Miss USA pageant. The model and fashion designer edged out Venezuela’s Amanda Dudamel and Dominican Republic’s Andreina Martinez, who also finished in the top three, for the coveted title. The competition was held in New Orleans, 84 women from all over the world fought for the crown.

Back in October, Gabrielle made history when she became the first Asian American and also the first Filipino woman to win Miss USA. She was also the first Filipina to win Miss Texas. A 2018 graduate of the University of North Texas, Gabrielle runs her own independent clothing label in Houston called R’bonney Nola. She is also a sewing instructor for the Houston-based nonprofit Magpies & Peacocks, which collects and reuses used clothing, textile waste and landfill accessories to create sustainable clothing.

During Saturday Night’s final Q&A segment, the top three contenders were asked how they would work to showcase Miss Universe as a powerful and progressive organization if they won the title. Gabriel replied that she will use her platform to become a “transformational leader” and highlighted how she uses fashion as a force for good by reducing pollution through the use of recycled materials in her clothing.

“I teach sewing lessons to women who are survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence,” Gabriel said. “And I’m saying this because it’s so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference. We all have something special, and when we plant those seeds for other people in our lives, we are transformed. them, and we’re using that as a vehicle for change.”

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