A 28-year old Filipina-American was crowned the new Miss Universe in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA Sunday Philippine time.
R’Bonney Gabriel, whose father is a Filipino immigrant, became the ninth Miss USA to win the world’s most coveted beauty title.
She ended the 10-year drought of Team USA, with the last crown held by Olivia Culpo, who is incidentally one of the hosts of the show.
Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who came to NOLA Convention Center cheered and waved the US and Philippine flags as her name was announced.
First round Q&A
Question: What changes would you like to see in Miss Universe and why?
Miss USA: For me, I would like to see an age increase. I am 28 years old and that is the oldest age to compete. And I think it is a beautiful thing. My favorite is quote is “If not now, then when?” Because as a woman, I believe age does not define us. It is not tomorrow, it is not yesterday. The time is now that you can go after what you want.”
Final round Q&A
Question: If you win Miss Universe, how would you work to demonstrate this is an empowering and progressive organization?
Miss USA: I would use it to be a transformational leader. As a very passionate designer, who has been sewing for 13 years, I used fashion as a force for good. In my industry, I’m cutting down on pollution through (use of) recycled materials when I make my clothing. I teach sewing to women of survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.
And I say that because it is important to invest in others, to invest in community and use your unique talent to make a difference. We all have something special and we will plant those seeds to other people in our (lives). We transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change.”
banner photo: Screenshot from video of Miss Universe Twitter