Miss USA, R’Bonney Gabriel, took the 71st Miss Universe crown home at the beauty competition that was held in New Orleans on Saturday evening. A fashion designer by profession, she is said to be the first Filipino American to have the Miss Universe pageant.
Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel, and Miss Dominican Republic, Andreina Martinez, finished as the first runner-up and the second runner-up, respectively while India’s Divita Rai couldn’t make it to the top.
As per the news agency Associated Press, Gabriel closed her eyes and clasped hands with Amanda Dudamel, at the moment of the dramatic reveal of the winner, then beamed after her name was announced. Thumping music rang out, and she was handed a bouquet of flowers, draped in the winner’s sash, and crowned with a tiara onstage at the competition. In the Q&A at the last stage of the competition for the three finalists, Gabriel was asked how she would work to demonstrate Miss Universe is “an empowering and progressive organization” if she were to win.
“I would use it to be a transformational leader,” she responded, citing her work using recycled materials in her fashion design and teaching sewing to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. “It is so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference,” she added.