Miss Universe 2023: Bonney Gabriel of the United States was crowned the 71st Miss Universe on Saturday night.
Gabriel, who last year became the first Filipino-American to win Miss USA, took the crown ahead of Amanda Dudamel of Venezuela and Andreína Martínez of the Dominican Republic.
The pageant was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, and 84 women from around the world competed for the crown.
This Saturday night was the final day of the competition, eliminations narrowed the number of finalists down to the final two.
When Gabriel entered the Top 5, she was asked, “On Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change to allow mothers and married women to compete this year. What other change would you like to see and why?”
Gabriel replied that she hoped the pageant organizers would raise the age limit for candidates.
“For me, I would like to see the age increase because I’m 28. And that’s the oldest age I can compete. And I think that’s a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is ‘if not now, when?’ Because as a woman, I believe that age does not define us. It is not tomorrow, it is not yesterday – but it is now. The time is now,” she said.
Miss USA R’Bonney vss Gabriel is crowned at the Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans on January 14, 2023.
Miss USA R’Bonney vss Gabriel is crowned at the Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans on January 14, 2023. Credit: Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Originally from Houston, Gabriel is a model, fashion designer, and sewing instructor who prioritizes the environment in her work.
Earlier in the parade, Gabriel donned a red and orange cape inspired by a rising phoenix with the saying “if not now, then when” that she dyed herself. The words draw inspiration from a father’s advice to act on goals, dreams and desires.
In the final Q&A segment of the pageant, the top 3 contestants were asked how they would work to show Miss Universe as an empowering and progressive organization if they won the title.
Gabriel said she would use the platform as a “transformational leader” and highlighted her passion as a force for good in the fashion industry by reducing pollution and using recycled materials in the production of clothing pieces.
“I teach sewing classes to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. And I say this because it’s so important to invest in others, invest in our community and use your unique talents to make a difference,” Gabriel said.
“We all have something special, ‘and when we plant those seeds for other people in our lives, we transform iop them and use that as a vehicle for change.”
This year’s pageant was first organized by JKN Global Group PCL, a Thai media distribution company, after mogul and transgender rights advocate Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million in October.
Jakkaphong has been open about her experiences as a transgender woman and is also the first woman to participate in the competition.
She took the stage to award the winner of the ImpactWayv Challenge, Anna Sueangam-iam of Thailand, fulfilling her commitment to social good.
Miss Thailand made waves in the opening rounds of the pageant in a dress made from soda – a tribute to her humble beginnings and her parents’ work as garbage collectors.
A previous version of this article misidentified Gabriel. She is the first Filipina American to win Miss USA. gch
Miss Universe 2022 Live: Miss USA, R'Bonney Gabriel has been crowned as the Miss Universe 2022. R'Bonney Gabriel, 28, is a model, fashion designer, and sewing instructor who prioritizes the environment in her work. She's also the first Filipino American to win Miss USA.