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Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel says rigging allegations have been ‘hurtful’: ‘I am targeted on being profitable’

R’Bonney Gabriel, the primary Filipino American to win Miss USA, was topped Miss Universe 2022 – however not everybody celebrated her massive achievement.

Whereas the present was airing from New Orleans, a number of critics on Twitter alleged the pageant was rigged, mentioning that JKN World Group, which owns Miss Universe, additionally owned Miss USA. Some additionally claimed that the pageant was manipulated to favor the American contestant as a result of it was held in america.

“You recognize, I’ve to be sincere, it is extremely hurtful,” the 28-year-old informed Fox Information Digital. “It’s very disheartening as a result of I’ve put my coronary heart and soul into [it]. And I hope individuals can see that. Nevertheless, on this competitors, I do know there [are] at all times rumors that may begin. Generally I’m like, ‘It’s one other day, one other rumor,’ and you must take it with a grain of salt. I’ve been via this earlier than as a result of I gained Miss USA. That was within the public eye and there [were] rigging allegations confirmed false as properly.”

“I actually realized to only form of focus my vitality inward,” she shared. “And I spotted that on the finish of the day, I’ve to be thankful for this chance. And I really feel just like the extra profitable you’re, the extra the world sees you. There’ll at all times be those who attempt to deliver you down. However being within the public eye, I believe it is a nice alternative to point out resiliency and to only maintain shifting ahead… I’m targeted on my finish aim. I’m targeted on being profitable and being constructive in a world of negativity.”


Following the competitors on Jan. 14, the group dismissed claims made by social media customers that its new proprietor fastened the competitors to crown the Houston native.

“Saturday’s competitors was the primary time a trans girl addressed followers because the proprietor of Miss Universe,” the group wrote in an announcement obtained by Fox Information Digital about transgender Thai businesswoman and JKN World Group CEO Anne Jakrajutatip.

“It was additionally the primary time a Filipina American took the crown,” the assertion continued. “The false rigging allegations are absurd and distract from the unbelievable milestones our group and the delegates skilled this weekend.”

“As a substitute of specializing in unfounded statements, we’ll proceed to shine a light-weight on world ladies’s empowerment, inclusiveness, range, and transformational management,” the group concluded.


Gabriel, a dressmaker, mannequin and stitching teacher is the primary American to win since Olivia Culpo’s victory in 2012. In line with the group, she is a former highschool volleyball participant and a graduate of the College of North Texas. She is at the moment the CEO of her personal sustainable clothes line.

Almost 90 contestants from all over the world took half within the competitors. The runner-up was Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel, adopted by Miss Dominican Republic Andreina Martinez. Final yr’s winner was Harnaaz Sandhu of India.

Gabriel mentioned she hopes her win will encourage others to “obtain one thing that they thought was unimaginable.”

“After I first got down to prepare for Miss Universe, I truly misplaced in pageants 4 occasions in a row,” she defined. “I might get first runner-up… However I by no means gave up. And I believe my method for fulfillment is I actually leaned on those who believed in me and would push me on days [when] I didn’t really feel prefer it… I reduce out a variety of distractions. I didn’t understand quite a bit was holding me again from reaching this aim… All my greatest pals have been very understanding, however I gave up my social life.”


“There have been a variety of occasions I wished to surrender, however I believe the extra you fail and the extra you retain attempting and making use of your self – you’re going to get nearer and nearer,” she continued. “I believe something good that’s value combating for doesn’t come straightforward. So on days that I wished to surrender… I’m an individual of religion. And I at all times thought God is giving me this problem for a motive. Each failure is a chance to investigate what I can do to be higher the following time round. And it’s actually about approaching failure in that approach as an alternative of letting it deliver you down.”

Gabriel admitted she was “in disbelief” when the winner of Miss Universe was introduced. For a second, she was unsure if she heard accurately.

“I used to be asking myself, ‘Is it actually me? Did I hear that proper?’” she chuckled. “I simply blacked out, and I wasn’t positive. It took me a couple of moments to understand that I used to be the winner. They lastly got here with the crown and sash… That’s when all of it actually began hitting me.”

Gabriel’s dad and mom have been within the viewers cheering because the thumping music rang out and their daughter was draped within the winner’s sash. She mentioned that her win was for them, in addition to for different Asian Individuals like her.


“I’m so proud as a result of I really feel like I’m a product of the American dream,” mentioned Gabriel. “My father, he’s an immigrant from the Philippines. He got here right here with solely $20 in his pocket and a university scholarship. He was in a position to pave the best way for a profitable life with a loving household… I’m simply so grateful that America provides alternatives to individuals like that. And that is likely one of the principal causes I’m proud to be an American.”

Gabriel insisted that regardless of the glitz and glamour being celebrated on stage, making ready for the Miss Universe competitors required critical dedication that’s not for the faint of coronary heart. She described “consuming the identical factor for the final two years” to remain in form.

“Day-after-day I’ve oatmeal and two eggs within the morning,” she described. “After which lunchtime is shrimp and inexperienced beans. After which there’s a snack in between. There are rice desserts – I at all times have rice desserts in my purse or my automobile… After which dinner is salmon and veggies. I keep according to that nearly day-after-day… Even after I was touring someplace, I might meal plan and convey [my food] on the aircraft in an enormous cooler.”

Whereas Gabriel works with a coach and lifts heavy weights to construct muscle, contestants are recognized for utilizing spray tans to seem glowing and toned.


“I take advantage of self-tanner, which is one thing that was form of new to me earlier than pageants,” Gabriel defined. “If you put a faux spray tan on, if you happen to wash your physique or if you happen to bathe, it comes off. So through the competitors, it’s two weeks lengthy. I get my spray tan proper earlier than I test in. I need to protect all of it the best way till finals two weeks later. I solely showered a couple of occasions, which is form of gross If you concentrate on it as a result of we’re magnificence queens. We’re speculated to be so clear and glamorous. However by the point finals come round, I really feel so soiled as a result of I’ve solely showered a couple of occasions. I’m actually attempting to protect my spray tan.”

“It’s not the cutest I’ll say that,” she added about her bathtub.

Nevertheless, each contestant has to anticipate the sudden. For the competitors, Gabriel teamed up with a Filipino artist to create her huge “Girl on the Moon,” costume – one which shortly went viral.

“The memes are cracking me up,” she mentioned. “I don’t wish to take myself too critically. I believe it’s nice that I made individuals snicker. I gave them one thing to speak about. I didn’t anticipate that. However after I went on stage, the costume was so heavy that I needed to snicker at myself. I wished to go massive for this costume, however I don’t suppose I spotted what I used to be getting myself into.”


Gabriel suspected the piece weighed about 50 kilos. She wore it sporting heels.

“I wished to be slightly bit taller and I believed the heels have been so cute,” she laughed. “So I mentioned, ‘Let me simply undergo via this.’… I couldn’t put on it for that lengthy. I put it on proper earlier than I went on stage. And as quickly as I received off stage, I used to be like, ‘Take this off!’”

On the final stage of the competitors, Gabriel informed judges she would use her title “to be a transformational chief” if she gained. Gabriel cited her work in utilizing recycled supplies in her vogue designs, in addition to instructing stitching to human trafficking and home violence survivors.

“I’m simply so grateful that I’m right here,” mentioned Gabriel. “I hope this story conjures up different individuals to understand they will do it, too. Simply go for it and personal who you’re. There’s magnificence in that.”

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