And the newly crowned Miss Universe 2022 is… Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel!
R’Bonney Gabriel, who hails from Texas, was crowned the 71st Miss Universe on Saturday night, besting Amanda Dudamel from Venezuela and Andreína Martínez from the Dominican Republic.
The honor comes after she already broke boundaries by becoming the first-ever Filipino-American to win Miss USA.
The pageant, which was held in New Orleans with Access Hollywood’s own Zuri Hall holding down the fort as one of the hosts, was a glamorous affair, but it also shined a light on some of the outdated practices at the event.
When R’Bonney made it to the Top 5 she was asked her on-stage interview question, which was what she’d like to see changed about the pageant. The interviewer asked, “Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change allowing mothers and married women to compete this year. What’s another change you’d like to see and why?”
PHOTOS: Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel Wins Miss Universe 2023
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R’Bonney had a solid answer, sharing that at 28, which is the maximum age to compete in the pageant, she’d like to see a change on the age limit.
“For me, I would like to see an age increase because I am 28 years old. And that is the oldest age to compete. And I think it’s a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is ‘if not now, then when?’ Because as a woman, I believe age does not define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday — but it’s now. The time is now,” she said.
R’Bonney also made headlines on Sunday night for designing her own swimwear for her Miss Universe competition.
In addition to competing in pageants, she also runs her own eco-friendly clothing line, and she put her designs on display on Sunday as she hit the stage in a bright orange one-shoulder swimsuit with a cutout midriff, which she teamed with an eye-catching cape which featured the words “If Not Now, Then When?”
R’Bonney designed the cape herself which was made using sustainable dyes and plastic bottles to demonstrate “how art can be made out of what we perceive as trash.”
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