Miss Texas USA

R’Bonney Gabriel

Age 28 | Houston | Facebook | Instagram

R’Bonney Gabriel wears many hats, but when she made history as the first Filipina American to win Miss Texas USA, she added her first crown. News of her victory lit up social media, and R’Bonney was flooded with cheers, especially from Filipinas, who cried tears of joy for her achievement. But then she noticed that congratulations were coming in from people of many backgrounds, both male and female, and the “Filipina Texan” realized she is paving the way for Asian-Americans, yes, but also dreamers of many stripes, all drawing inspiration from her, in whatever lane they’re in.

The more her fans learn about R’Bonney, the more they discover her strengths as a Renaissance woman: eco-friendly fashion designer, sewing instructor for domestic violence survivors, artist helping women learn tools for success, advocate for sustainability in the fashion industry.

R’Bonney’s belief that people should get to explore an abundance of opportunities in order to find their purpose and passion hearkens back to her own experience, as a high-school volleyball player who pivoted to fashion when she started sewing at age 15 and fell in love with constructing things with fabrics and textiles. At the University of North Texas, she earned a degree in fashion design with a minor in fibers in 2018. Next, she enjoyed an internship with fashion designer Nicole Miller in New York City.

For the past three years, R’Bonney has worked at the nonprofit design house Magpies & Peacocks, which collects discarded materials and upcycles them into new collections.

She modeled for six years before discovering the opportunities afforded by the Miss Universe Organization. In 2021, her first year at Miss Texas USA, R’Bonney placed as first runner-up, then she returned in 2022 with the mindset of outcompeting everyone else, and her dedication paid off.

Next, she will represent the Lone Star State at the upcoming Miss USA Pageant.

Meanwhile, her fundamental focus of honoring her talents by “giving back” remains true; it’s just that winning Miss Texas USA has made her classroom bigger and more glamorous. At rbonneynola.com and Instagram: @rbonneynola, followers can learn a book’s worth by seeing, for example, how she ripped up a coat she found at a thrift store and whipped up her dress for the pageant’s opening number. She also designed and crafted her interview outfit and rehearsal wardrobe. For evening gown competition, she wore a stunning, hand beaded creation by Filipino fashion designer Rian Fernandez.

Away from the spotlight, R’Bonney loves to hula hoop, backpack and read, especially the writings of motivational speaker Les Brown, who authored her favorite quote, “Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you become your reality.”


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