Why Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel is Proud of Her Filipino Roots
New crowned Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel may have represented the United States but she is a proud Filipino-Texan thanks to her Filipino dad and American mom.
A new Miss Universe titleholder has been crowned and it’s USA’s R’Bonney Gabriel, who won over 83 candidates from around the world at the competition held in New Orleans, Louisiana on Sunday, January 15, Manila time.
Although she represented the US flag, R’Bonney Gabriel also made history as the first Asian-American and Filipino-American to win the title both of Miss Universe and Miss USA. Her father Remigio Gabriel is Filipino, while her mom Dana Walker is an American from Texas. Here’s why she is proud to carry two cultures on stage.
R’Bonney Gabriel makes history as the First Filipino-American titleholder
During an interview with the Houston Life, R’Bonney Gabriel spoke about being the first Filipino-American titleholder as Miss USA Texas. “It’s an honor. Because I have been getting messages on Instagram and social media from Filipina women and girls telling me they are so excited, they’re crying tears of joy because they’re inspired to go after pageantry like I’m paving the way for them to go after what they want no matter what it is.”
Moreover, the 28-year-old fashion designer shared how her dad moved to the US from Manila to study. “He had $20 in his pocket and then he met my mom whose from Beumont. So I am a Filipino-Texan.”
Her journey in the pageantry was not without bumps. She tried three times before she got to win the Miss USA Texas title before competing in Miss USA. Winning Miss USA was not without controversy either after the organization headed by Crystal Stewart was accused of favoritism.
R’Bonney Gabriel responded to the accusation by telling E! News: “I would never enter any pageant or any competition that I know I would win. I have a lot of integrity.”
R’Bonney is proud of her Filipino roots
Following her win on Sunday as the 9th Miss Universe from the United States, R’Bonney said at the press conference she will always be proud of her Filipino roots.
“To be half-Filipino, I feel like that helped me feel the energy in the crowd. The support is everything. I feel blessed. As the first Filipino-American Miss Universe, I can now be a voice, a larger voice for other girls and just show them that you need to embrace who you are. It’s so important. Embrace what makes you different,” she shared
“I think this will make Filipinos even more proud to be a Filipino. Whenever you see someone similar to you, whether that’s a culture or somebody that is in the same sports as you or has the same interest as you, you get excited and you want to embrace more of who you are. So, I am so excited for Filipinos to be shown in that light and continue to celebrate that,” she added.
Additionally, R’Bonney said that she hopes to visit the country very soon and create some projects involving sewing.
“I was speaking with a friend a couple of months ago that’s in the Philippines, he’s a designer. I told him I would love to set up some sewing workshops and teach little girls how to sew. It’s all about planting the seeds and giving them the creative opportunity. I really look forward to that and I hope I have the opportunity to do that in the Philippines hopefully within the next few months.”