R’Bonney Gabriel has returned to Houston, Texas, two months after being crowned Miss Universe, Click 2 Houston reports.
Gabriel won the Miss USA pageant in October 2022, representing Texas. She became the first Filipino American to win Miss USA. After her win some Miss USA contestants claimed that the pageant was fixed, forcing an investigation. Gabriel had to prepare for the Miss Universe pageant without the help of her country’s national pageant organization because of the allegations.
The Filipino American is a fashion designer who grew up in Texas. She has made several of the gowns she competes in. She was happy to return to her hometown to discuss her journey.
“It feels good to be home. I have a sense of everything being familiar and familiar faces, all the roads and stores and everything. I’ve missed home,” Gabriel told ABC13. “I’m in New York now, and it’s cold. I miss the ensaymadas at Godo’s, my favorite Filipino restaurant, and walking to Segundo, my favorite coffee shop.”
She hopes to empower other people as Miss Universe.
“Never let anyone make you feel like you’re not good enough for anything or you’re not enough. I’m learning that as Miss Universe and being in the limelight that there’s a lot of supporters, but there’s also a lot of negativity. You define who you are, and don’t let anybody take that away from you,” she told ABC13. “I really want to elaborate on that as children are on social media all the time.”
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