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R’Bonney Gabriel wins Miss Universe

I know, I know, not my usual beat, but it’s a followup on a previous post, so here we are.

R’Bonney Gabirel

R’Bonney Gabriel, the first Filipina Texan to win Miss Texas USA and Miss USA, has a new title: Miss Universe.

The 28-year-old from Friendswood was crowned the 71st Miss Universe in New Orleans Saturday night, beating out runner-up Miss Venezuela, Amanda Dudamel, according to the Associated Press.

Gabriel is an eco-friendly fashion designer, model and sewing instructor who crafted several of her own outfits for competition at the Miss USA competition in October, where she placed first against runner-up Morgan Romano of North Carolina. After graduating from the University of North Texas with a degree in fashion design, she founded and currently owns her own sustainable clothing line, R’Bonney Nola, according to her Miss Universe bio.

As an homage to her hometown, she donned an space-themed costume during the competition, complete with an American flag, glittering stars and a large moon balanced above her head.

In the final stage of the competition, Gabriel was asked what she would do to show Miss Universe is “an empowering and progressive organization,” the Associated Press reported. She responded by speaking about her work to use recycled materials in fashion and teach sewing to survivors of human trafficking the domestic violence, according to the AP.

Before we review the history here, you need to see that space-themed costume:

Incredible. Anyway, the reason I note Ms. Gabriel’s triumph is because her victory as Miss USA was marked with controversy, as well as the revelation that she is a critic of Texas’ forced-birth laws, which has caused some tut-tutting in her hometown of Friendswood. For what it’s worth, in the news stories of her Miss Universe win that I’ve scanned, neither of these items were mentioned. Be that as it may, congratulations to Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel. Best of luck, and may you at least occasionally remind people that Houston and Friendswood are two different places.

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