Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel became the first Filipina American to win Miss USA on Monday.
According to People, Gabriel was officially crowned Miss USA Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada. The 28-year-old beat out Miss North Carolina Morgan Romano and Miss Nebraska Natalie Pieper to win the title.
Gabriel is a fashion designer from Houston. According to KSAT, Gabriel made her own gown for the Miss USA competition and took inspiration from her Filipina roots.
“I hand painted the same flower design from my mothers wedding dress onto my sleeves and tied in a traditional Maria Clara Filipina collar shape. I have immense gratitude for the (opportunities) my parents provided me and wanted to express my love to them through this,” she wrote on Instagram.
Gabriel is proud of her Filipina culture. She became the first Asian American woman and Filipina American to win Miss Texas on July 2.
“I feel like I have a very big responsibility to not only share my culture as a Filipina and a Texan, but I really want to show people the importance of embracing who you are,” Gabriel told ABC 13 after winning the Miss Texas competition.
Next year, Gabriel will represent the U.S. at the Miss Universe competition.
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