R’Bonney Gabriel, a fashion designer, model and sewing instructor from Texas was crowned Miss Universe last night.
Nearly 90 women competed this week at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in Louisiana, competing in rounds including swimsuits and folk costumes.
Ms. Gabriel, who officials said was the first Filipino American to win Miss USA, closed her eyes and clasped hands with Miss Venezuela runner-up Amanda Dudamel during the dramatic unveiling of the winner, then beamed after hers was announced Name .
Heavy music played and she was presented with a bouquet of flowers, draped with a sash and crowned with a tiara on stage at the 71st Miss Universe pageant.
Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel (pictured) was crowned Miss Universe during the final round of the 71st Miss Universe pageant last night in New Orleans
Second runner-up was Miss Dominican Republic, Andreina Martinez.
In a Q&A at the final stage of the competition for the three finalists, Ms Gabriel was asked how she would demonstrate that Miss Universe is an ’empowering and progressive organisation’ if she were to win.
‘I would use it to be a transformational leader,’ she replied, citing her work using recycled materials in her fashion designs and teaching sewing to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.
‘It is so important to invest in others, invest in our community and use your unique talent to make a difference.
R’Bonney Gabriel (pictured last night at the pageant at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center) was crowned Miss Universe
Miss USA R’ Bonney Gabriel (left) and Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel (right) wait to see who will be crowned Miss Universe
Contestants applaud R’bonney Gabriel (center) as she is crowned Miss Universe at the 71st pageant in Louisiana last night
About 90 women competed for the title of Miss Universe at last night’s 71st pageant (pictured L-R: Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Carino, Miss Haiti Mideline Phelizor, Miss Australia Monique Rile, Miss Dominican Republic Andreana Martanez and Miss Lasos Payengxa Lor)
Contestants take the stage in glittering gowns as they attend the 71st Miss Universe Pageant at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center (pictured from right: Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Carino, Miss Croatia Arijana Podgajski)
Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri wears a sparkly purple dress as she waves to the crowd during the Miss Universe pageant
‘We all have something special, and when we plant that seed in other people in our lives, we transform them and use it as a vehicle for change.’
According to Miss Universe, Ms. Gabriel is a former high school volleyball player and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
A short biography posted on the organization’s website states that she is also the CEO of her own sustainable clothing line.
Miss Curacao, Gabriela Dos Santos and Miss Puerto Rico, Ashley Carino, rounded out the top five finalists.
Miss Portugal Telma Madeira (pictured) competes in swimwear at the 71st Miss Universe pageant this week
During this week’s competition, which was held at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in Louisiana, contestants competed in various rounds, including a swimsuit segment
Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel (pictured) at the 71st Miss Universe pageant in Louisiana
Nearly 90 contestants from around the world took part in the pageant, organizers said, with contestants competing in swimsuits and evening gowns among other rounds.
Miss Puerto Rico Ashley Carino shines as she walks the runway during the swimsuit round, wearing a fuchsia and lilac one-piece gown
Speaking about the event, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said: ‘The City of New Orleans and the Miss Universe Organization share common values of celebrating inclusion, culture and the empowerment of women.
“Former Miss Universe ambassadors and winners have become surgeons, diplomats, politicians and business leaders, all of whom champion social causes that are important to them.
‘Hosting this event demonstrates the significant global impact that an international city like New Orleans has on the world’s tourism and cultural stage.
‘We are honored to host the 71st annual Miss Universe pageant and show people around the world why New Orleans is the best in the world in hosting major events, festivals, conferences and conventions with a culture that is absolutely second to none.’
Miss Curacao Gabriela Dos Santos (pictured) participates in the evening gown competition during the final round of the 71st Miss Universe pageant
In the evening gown round, contestants showed off dazzling gowns as they took to the event stage (pictured L-R: Miss Spain Alicia Faubel, Miss Canada Amelia Tu)
Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri (pictured) dazzles in a shimmering gown with a plunging V-neckline and cape-style sleeves
The pageant’s evening gown category gave almost 90 contestants the chance to show off their gorgeous gowns (pictured L-R: Miss Peru Alessia Rovegno, Miss Trinidad and Tobago Tya Jane Ramey)
Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel (who was crowned Miss Universe) shows off a shimmering black and sheer gown at the pageant in Louisiana
Nearly 90 contestants from around the world took part in the competition, organizers said, including ‘personal statements, in-depth interviews and various categories including evening gowns and swimwear’.
As always, one of the most popular categories was the national costume round, in which contestants took to the stage in clothing representing their home nations.
Miss Great Britain, Noky Simbani wore an elegant white dress with silver and sapphire diamonds and a gorgeous velvet emerald cape with a fur trim.
The 26-year-old from Derbyshire also wore a small silver tiara, which appeared to be a reference to the late Queen Elizabeth II. while representing Great Britain to the world.
Last year’s winner was Harnaaz Sandhu from India.