Miss Universe pageant: Miss USA, R’Bonney Gabriel, crowned

NEW ORLEANS — Miss USA has been crowned Miss Universe.

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R’Bonney Gabriel, was crowned as the new Miss Universe Saturday night by the previous Miss Universe, Harnaaz Sandhu of India, according to Deadline.

The second runner-up was Miss Dominican Republic, Andreina Martinez Founier, and the first runner-up was Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel, according to Deadline.

The pageant was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, this year with 84 women from around the world competing, according to CNN.

The pageant was hosted by Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo, and Jeannie Mai.

KTRK reported that Gabriel made history twice last year when she became the first Asian American woman to win the title of Miss Texas USA in June and the first Filipina to win Miss USA in October. Gabriel is from Houston, Texas.

She is also the first Miss USA to take home the title of Miss Universe in more than a decade, according to KTRK.

When Gabriel was chosen in the top five she was asked, Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change allowing mothers and married women to compete this year. What’s another change you’d like to see and why?”

Gabriel answered that she hoped contest organizers would increase the candidate age limit, CNN reported.

“For me, I would like to see an age increase because I am 28 years old. And that is the oldest age to compete. And I think it’s a beautiful thing,” Gabriel told the judges. “My favorite quote is ‘if not now, then when?’ Because as a woman, I believe age does not define us. It’s not tomorrow, it’s not yesterday -- but it’s now. The time is now.”

Miss Universe is an eco-friendly fashion designer, model, and sewing instructor, according to her Miss Universe profile. She is currently the CEO of her own clothing line called R’Bonney Nola.

“R’Bonney’s mission is for women and young girls to see themselves in her and feel inspired to conquer their goals by owning who they are,” her Miss Universe profile says.

Gabriel is a former high school volleyball player and graduate of the University of North Texas, according to her profile.

Miss Curacao, Gabriela Dos Santos, and Miss Puerto Rico, Ashley Carino, rounded out the five finalists, according to The Associated Press.

Some of the other awards were given out at the pageant including Miss Congeniality which went to Miss Chile, Sofia Depassier, the Social Impact Award went to Miss Thailand Anna Sueangam-iam, and the Spirit of Carnival Award went to Miss Ukraine Viktoria Apanasenko, according to Deadline.

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