Rabonne Gabriel On Saturday night, Miss America was crowned the 71st Miss Universe.
Gabriel became the first Filipino-American to win the Miss America title last year, ahead of Amanda Dudamel of Venezuela and Andreina Martinez of the Dominican Republic.
The beauty pageant was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, with 84 women from around the world vying for the crown.
Saturday night was the final day of competition, with knockout rounds reducing the number of finalists until the final two remained.
Gabriel responded that she wanted contest organizers to raise the age limit for candidates.
“For me, I’d like to see age because I’m 28. That’s the maximum age to play. I think it’s a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is ‘If not now, then When?’ Because as a woman, I believe age doesn’t define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday — it’s now. Now is the time,” she said.
Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel is crowned at the Miss Universe pageant on January 14, 2023 in New Orleans. credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Houston native Gabriel is a model, fashion designer and sewing instructor who puts the environment first in her work.
In the final Q&A portion of the competition, the top 3 contenders were asked how they would work to demonstrate that Miss Universe is an empowering and progressive organization if they win the title.
Gabrielle said she would use the platform to be a “transformative leader” and highlighted her passion for reducing pollution and using recycled materials to make clothes as a force for good in the fashion industry.
“We all have something special, and when we plant those seeds for other people in our lives, we change them and use them as vehicles for change.”
Jakkaphong has been outspoken about her experience as a transgender woman and is the pageant’s first female owner.