She’s outta this world!
R’Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss Universe on her own turf Saturday night — beating out 83 other beauties for the top honor.
The 28-year-old fashion designer and model — who became the first Filipino-American to win Miss USA last year — edged out runner-up Amanda Dudamel of Venezuela at the live competition in New Orleans.
Andreína Martínez Founier of the Dominican Republic took home third.
Gabriel is the ninth Miss USA to reign supreme as Miss Universe.
The Texas native, who runs her own sustainable clothing line, R’Bonney Nola, said she would use her title to become a “transformational leader.”
“As a very passionate designer — been sewing for 13 years — I use fashion as a force for good,” Gabriel said during the top three question round.
“In my industry, I’m cutting down on pollution through recycled materials when I make my clothing. I teach sewing classes to women that have survived from human trafficking and domestic violence.
“And I say that because it is so important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use your unique talent to make a difference. We all have something special and when we plant those seeds to other people in our life, we transform them and we use that as a vehicle for change.”
Last year’s Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu of India placed the glittering crown on Gabriel’s head before the newly-minted Miss Universe took her first walk inside the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
The Miss Universe Organization chose the venue in honor of the late Cheslie Kryst, who was crowned Miss USA in the same venue in 2019.
The pageant paid a special tribute to Kryst, who jumped to her death in New York last January, just a few weeks after she appeared as a TV correspondent for the 70th Miss Universe competition.
The organization played a short memorial video of the former model smiling and competing, and even included an inspiring quote Kryst shared during her time on the Miss USA stage.
“No matter where you start, the possibilities for your future are limited only by the depths of your own imagination,” Kryst said.
Kryst’s mom took the stage to announce that the National Alliance on Mental Illness established the Cheslie Kryst Memorial Fund for Mental Health in her honor.
“Cheslie dealt with high-functioning depression,” her mom, April Simpkins, said on the competition stage. “The Chelsie you saw didn’t always match the way she felt inside. Just because someone tells you they’re fine, doesn’t mean they are.”
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