Miss USA 2022 R'Bonney Gabriel: First Filipino American to win Miss USA

20 Dec 2022 | Priya Bhardwaj

R'Bonney Gabriel made history as she became the first Filipino American delegate to be crowned Miss USA 2022. Miss USA 2022, the 71st Miss USA, was held on 3rd October 2022 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. R'Bonney Gabriel succeeds and was crowned by Miss USA 2021 Elle Smith of Kentucky.

R'Bonney Gabriel is 28 years of age and a Harris County resident. She was also the first Asian American woman to represent Miss Texas. Gabriel was born in San Antonio, Texas to a Filipino father Ramon Bonifacio ‘R'Bon’ Gabriel and an American mother Dana Walker. R'Bonney followed in her father’s footsteps and also graduated from college attending the University of North Texas. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design with a minor in fibers.



On winning the national crown, Gabriel exclaimed, "Oh my God, it's an honor. 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. They're crying tears of joy because they are inspired to go after pageantry...I'm paving the way for them to just go after whatever they want no matter what it is. So it's an honor."

Gabriel also runs her own independent clothing label out of Houston. She is a model and a designer who runs her own fashion label R'Bonney Nola. The brand uses sustainable design methods and a combination of repurposed or natural fabrics in all its clothing. The brand uses garments which are mindfully created with experimental textures, embroideries, and unique handwork in order to reduce the amount of textile waste produced by each piece.



Gabriel is also a sewing teacher at Houston-based nonprofit Magpies and Peacocks, which reuses post-consumer clothing, scrap textiles, and accessories diverted from landfill to create sustainable clothing. Gabriel also plans to take her commitment to sustainable clothing to the next level.

"I foresee myself in really dreaming about having a bigger brand that is focused on sustainability and being a leading voice in the industry that's helping the industry push to a more environmentally friendly practice," Gabriel quoted.

During her Top 5 Q/A round as well, Gabriel picked the judge Soo Yeon Lee, who asked her the question, "Global studies indicate that women are increasingly seen as more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. You are asked to create a task force to help address this issue. What's your first priority?"



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She answered, "Well, I think there's eight ways we can implement addressing climate change within our careers or our lifestyle. It's as easier as adding a recycle bin to your house, everybody can do that, or being creative in ways you can also implement it in your job. I am a fashion designer. I actually made the outfit I'm wearing and I upcycle pieces and recycle different clothing to be more sustainable in my industry because I feel like it's my duty. So I think that's something we can all look for in our certain industries and in our homes — to be more sustainable."

Gabriel’s immense hard work, sincerity and a strong advocacy will take her very far at the Miss Universe 2022 competition which will be held on 14th January 2022 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana where Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu of India was crowned her successor at the end of the event finale.