Filipino-American beauty queen R’Bonney Gabriel has been crowned Miss USA 2022.
Gabriel, 28, was honoured at the Miss USA ceremony on Monday at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. She will go on to represent the USA at the Miss Universe pageant that will take place in New Orleans on January 23.
Before her latest win, the beauty queen was the first Asian-American to win Miss Texas.
Gabriel told Houston Life: “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. 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. So it’s an honour.”
Gabriel, who is an eco-friendly fashion designer, was born in San Antonio to a Filipino father and an American mother.
She even referenced her commitment to sustainability during the question and answer round of the Miss USA contest.
She was asked by judge Soo Yeon Lee: “Global studies indicate that women are increasingly seen as more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. You are asked to create a task force to help address this issue. What’s your first priority?
Gabriel replied: “Well, I think there’s eight ways we can implement addressing climate change within our careers or our lifestyle. It’s as easier as adding a recycle bin to your house, everybody can do that, or being creative in ways you can also implement it in your job. I am a fashion designer. I actually made the outfit I’m wearing and I upcycle pieces and recycle different clothing to be more sustainable in my industry because I feel like it’s my duty. So I think that’s something we can all look for in our certain industries and in our homes — to be more sustainable.”