THIS year’s Miss Universe is one proud Filipina.
Philippine bet Celeste Cortesi may have failed to bring the crown back to the country. But the pain for pageant-crazy Philippines somewhat eased upon learning that USA’s R’Bonney Gabriel is also one proud Filipina.
“Mabuhay Philippines, Mabuhay Filipino fans,” Gabriel said speaking in Filipino as she thanked her Filipino fans’ support during her press conference as the official new Miss Universe.
What impressed Pinoy fans more is when Gabriel continued to speak in Filipino as she was delivering her message.
“Maraming-maraming salamat sa lahat ng tulong ninyo the support is everything. I feel it in my heart, I heard it in the room. It was an amazing energy, the Filipino blood is so strong. We are hard-working, we’re fun and we’re determined and I am so proud to be half-Filipina,” she said.
The 28-year-old stunner has been very vocal about being the first Filipino-American ever to be crowned Miss Universe.
Her journey to the top however did not come without failures, in fact, lots of it.
“As I said, it’s been a three-year journey of getting first runner-up and just going, keep going. I always had this feeling in me and something is telling me no matter what I should keep trying, even though I felt like I wouldn’t succeed. So it is such an amazing feeling to be standing here as the first Filipino-American (Miss Universe winner),” she said.
“I get so many messages from young girls telling me that they are inspired by me, but it’s just so important to embrace who you are, whatever culture that is. And I’ve, I’ve done that very proudly, very vocally and it’s amazing to have people come to me and tell me that they are so proud of their culture, too. That is really how I want to inspire people,” she added.
Earlier today, USA snatched its ninth Miss Universe crown.
By pedigree, the Asian-American stunner in fact was born to an American mother, Dana Walker from Texas and a pure blooded Filipino father Remigio Bonzon “R. Bon” Gabriel who migrated to Washington state when he was 25 years old.
She is a sustainable fashion designer, a sewing teacher and a model.
Her response to the question as to how her fashion design background can help her become a transformational leader won her the crown.
“Well, I would use it to be a transformational leader,” she started.
“As a very passionate designer, I’ve been sewing for 13 years. I use fashion as a force for good. In my industry, I’ve been cutting down on pollution through recycled materials when I make my clothing. I choose sewing classes to women that have survived from human trafficking and domestic violence. And I say that because it is so important to invest in others invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference. We all have something special and when we plant those seeds to other people in our life, we transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change,” she said.
Photo credit: Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel via @missuniverse Instagram