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Miss Texas USA title goes to Asian American woman for the first time

R'Bonney Gabriel was named Miss Texas USA.


NORTH TEXAS, Texas (KTVT) — R’Bonney Gabriel can proudly wear the crown – as soon as she was named Miss Texas USA, she had just opened doors for so many.

She explains, “it’s a very proud feeling that I am the first Asian American to win Miss Texas USA. I feel like I’ve been able to inspire more Asian Americans to go after pageants or whatever career field they want…. even if they didn’t see someone like them in that space. It’s a great example to just pave the way.”

Gabriel’s dramatic rise to stardom comes in the midst of entering the pageant world just two years ago. It’s an example of what makes this country the land of opportunity.

It goes back to her father, who came to the United States with nothing more than a hope and a dream. She says “my dad has been my number one inspiration because he came from the Philippines to America on a college scholarship at 19-years-old. He had about $20 in his pocket but he worked with what he got. He always said I’m not the smartest person in the room in college, but I out worked everybody. He is so proud of my pageant journey, because I have worked really hard. I owe that all to him.”

She is a Texas native, who graduated from UNT with a degree in fashion design. Gabriel works at a non profit company in Houston, collecting discarded materials and creating custom outfits… but so much more.

She admits, “I learned that you should share your blessings and talents with others, because it will give you purpose in what you do.”

At the Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall at The Perot Museum, Gabriel could equate the display to polish she now possesses – once having been a diamond in the rough. Now, she’s teaching her skills to others, who often need help stitching their lives back together.

She describes the sewing course she teaches as “a five week sewing course for women who have survived domestic violence or human trafficking, or just underserved communities to give them an opportunity.”

When asked, “when you see some of the women you’re helping and maybe you hear some of their personal journeys, how does that affect you?” She responded, “it just makes me want to help them as much as possible. I just kind of help their mindset…to help them understand that all their last trial and tribulations does not have to define their future.”

The old saying is, heavy is the head that wears the crown. That’s not the case for R’Bonney Gabriel. She welcomes the pressure that comes with the platform, to make a positive impact each and every single day.

“I just want to inspire people in my own unique way and do that across Texas, and hopefully at Miss USA across the country too,” Gabriel said.


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