R’Bonney Gabriel joins past Miss Universe winners in family photo

January 16, 2023 - 6:15 PM
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Contestant, crowned Miss Universe at the conclusion of the 71st MISS UNIVERSE Competition®, on stage wearing a crown by Mouawad on January 14th, 2023 at the New Orleans Ernst N. Morial Convention Center airing LIVE on The Roku Channel in English and Telemundo in Spanish. The new winner will move to New York City where she will live during her reign and become a spokesperson for various causes alongside The Miss Universe Organization. (Miss Universe/TRACY NGUYEN)

Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel joined former Miss Universe titleholders in a photo shoot after winning the 71st crown last Sunday.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray uploaded these photos on her page on Monday, January 16.

Catriona described the inclusion of R’Bonney in the group as a “growing sisterhood.”

“A growing sisterhood,” she said.

In the post, Catriona expressed love for Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu of India who crowned her successor, R’Bonney

Catriona also congratulated the Filipino-American delegate who won the competition.

“Another journey begins! Sending big, big love to @harnaazsandhu_03 on such an impact full reign! And of course, a huge congratulations to @rbonneynola from USA, our new @missuniverse!!! Can’t wait to witness your reign,” the Australian-Filipino model said.

Miss Universe also previously posted on Instagram behind-the-scenes footage of these group photos. The organization also welcomed R’Bonney to the family.

 

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While R’Bonney represented the United States of America, several Filipinos threw their support for her after she advanced to the Top 16 of the prestigious pageant.

READ: ‘For Pinoy pride’: Pinoys rally behind USA’s R’Bonney Gabriel at Miss Universe 2022

She bested over 80 candidates, including Philippine representative Celeste Cortesi.

Celeste failed to advance to the Top 16, ending the country’s 12-year streak in the semifinals of Miss Universe competitions.

R’Bonney, on the other hand, ended the ten-year Miss Universe drought in the US since Olivia Culpo snagged the elusive crown in 2012.

READ: Who is Miss Universe 2022 Filipino-American Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel?

Olivia also co-hosted the event with television host Jeannie Mai Jenkins. Catriona, meanwhile, was a backstage commentator with Emmy awardee Zuri Hall.

RELATED: Catriona Gray steals spotlight as Miss Universe 2022 backstage host

Amid the cheers for the newly crowned queen, there’s a special someone who posted a heartfelt congratulatory message to R’Bonney—her boyfriend named Kevin Bong.

“We are all so proud of you! From the moment we met, I recognized your talents and determination to pursue your dreams,” Kevin said.

“Last night you achieved one of the highest honors. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I’m glad the whole world will now know how amazing you are,” he added.

In a previous interview with Dyan Castillejo, Bong said that R’Bonney has all the qualities to win the international contest.

“She’s got everything it takes to win. She has everything it takes. She has beauty. She’s talented. She works hard,” he said.

R’Bonney was also proud of her identity as half-American and half-Filipina.

In an interview with reporters, she offered herself as a “voice” for other Filipino-Americans like her.

“As the first Filipino-American Miss Universe, I can now be a voice, a larger voice for other girls and just show them that you need to embrace who you are. It’s so important. Embrace what makes you different,” she was quoted in a report as saying.

As an experienced fashion designer, the 28-year-old model also said that she is planning to give back to the Philippines by setting up sewing workshops for young Filipino girls.

R’Bonney runs her own sustainable clothing brand—R’Bonney Nola.

READ: Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel eyes sewing workshop in Philippines