TEMPLE, Texas — A Houston model and fashion designer, R'Bonney Gabriel, made history Monday night after she was crowned Miss USA in Reno, Nev.
She became the pageant's first Filipino American to win the title, which she says is a huge 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," Gabriel told Houston Life. "They’re crying tears of joy because they are inspired to go after pageantry or something. Like I’m paving the way for them to just go after whatever they want no matter what it is.”
She will now represent the United States in the upcoming 71st Miss Universe pageant on Jan. 14, 2023 in New Orleans.
Gabriel also joins another Filipino American woman, Averie Bishop from Dallas, in representing the state of Texas in the most esteemed pageants.
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Bishop was crowned Miss Texas America back in June. Her win was also a historic milestone because she became the very first Asian American woman to win the title.
"Pageantry has given @rbonneynola and I a platform to serve our community! It is an honor to shed light on our mixed ancestry here in the Lone Star State," she wrote on Instagram.
On Dec. 15 in Connecticut, Bishop will compete for the title of Miss America.