Filipino-American R’Bonney Gabriel is Miss Universe 2022

Settling for the first runner-up spot in the competition was Amanda Dudamel from Venezuela, while Andreína Martínez from Dominican Republic was proclaimed second runner-up.

Armin P. Adina

Armin P. Adina

Philippine Daily Inquirer


R’Bonney Gabriel. Image: Instagram/@rbonneynola

January 16, 2023

MANILA — R’Bonney Gabriel from the United States was proclaimed 2022 Miss Universe at the culmination of the pageant’s 71st edition held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States on Jan. 14 (Jan. 15 in Manila).

Gabriel, who is part-Filipino and is a fashion designer by profession, bested 83 other aspirants to inherit the title from 2021 Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu, the third winner from India who captured the title in the pageant’s 70th edition held in Israel in December 2021.

Sandhu becomes one of the longest-reigning Miss Universe titleholders in the pageant’s history, holding the crown for more than a year. No pageant was held last year, and the competition in New Orleans is considered the contest’s 2022 edition.

Settling for the first runner-up spot in the competition was Amanda Dudamel from Venezuela, while Andreína Martínez from Dominican Republic was proclaimed second runner-up.

At 28 (she will turn 29 on March 20), Gabriel became the oldest titleholder for the now Thailand-based pageant. The Texas native is a Filipino descent courtesy of her Filipino father, doctor Ramon Bonifacio Gabriel who emigrated to the United States from Manila at age 25. Her mother, American Dana Walker, is also from Texas.

Her victory makes her the 9th American to win the Miss Universe title, and the first Filipino-American, at that.

R’Bonney Gabriel of USA is Miss Universe 2022. Screengrab from Miss Universe websit

R’Bonney Gabriel, Miss Universe USA 2022 is crowned Miss Universe at the conclusion of the 71st MISS UNIVERSE Competition® on January 14th, 2023 at the New Orleans Ernst N. Morial Convention Center. Photo from Anne Jakrajutatip

Philippines’ Celeste Cortesi, meanwhile, did not place in the Top 16, breaking the country’s 12-year streak of securing a spot in the Miss Universe semifinals. This streak started in 2010 courtesy of Venus Raj who finished fifth in the competition held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the US that year. The US still holds the record with 22 uninterrupted placements from 1977 to 1998.

This month’s staging of the competition is a transition edition for the Miss Universe Organization (MUO), after Thai media mogul Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip of Bangkok-based JKN Global Group acquired full ownership in October last year.

Jakrajutatip is the first transwoman and non-American to own the MUO, and has acquired all the three pageants under the organization—Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA.

Her assumption to the post also created an all-women top executive team for the MUO, with Amy Emerich as CEO and Paula Shugart as president. The 2022 Miss Universe pageant also had a selection committee composed entirely of women, including US-based Filipino skincare expert Olivia Quido-Co.

The pageant also had an all-female on-camera hosting team this year, led by 2012 Miss Universe Olivia Culpo and Daytime Emmy winner Jeannie Mai-Jenkins, with 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray from the Philippines and Emmy Award-winning host Zuri Hall as backstage commentators.

Filipino shoemaker Jojo Bragais also returned for his second collaboration with the Miss Universe pageant, with the delegates using his “Maureen” strappy heels, inspired by 2021 Miss Globe Maureen Montagne from the Philippines.

Gabriel is expected to have a truncated reign, with the 2023 Miss Universe pageant, the 72nd edition of the global tilt, expected to be held before the year ends.

El Salvador has been chosen as the host country for the pageant’s 72nd edition. Talks are already in place for countries that will host Miss Universe in 2024 and 2025, with the competition period expected to run for about a month. EDV

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