Mixed-heritage Filipina winners of Miss Universe, from R’Bonney Gabriel to Pia Wurtzbach

Gabriel R’Bonney, a Filipino-American, made history on Saturday night by becoming the first to win the Crown Universe Miss and Crown Texas Miss, as well as the USA Miss. Additionally, Gabriel was also the first Filipino-American to win the USA Miss title.

The Houston-born 28-year-old is only the third Filipina of mixed heritage to be crowned Miss Universe, which is recognized as one of the longest-standing and highly-watched beauty pageants globally.

Four times has the Philippines won the crown, while nine wins the US has won Miss Universe the most number of times.

Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel is crowned Miss Universe by outgoing Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu of India. Reuters

Miss USA R’Bonney Gabriel is crowned Miss Universe by outgoing Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu of India. Reuters

Gabriel is a fashion designer and model who runs her own label, R’Bonney Nola. She was born in San Antonio, Texas, to an American mother and a Filipino father.

She stands at a height of 170cm and completed her studies at the University of North Texas.

She said that following her win in the Miss USA pageant in October, she now feels a “big responsibility” to empower others and share her multicultural background.

ABC News stated, “I am an extremely proud Filipina-Texan.” “She encountered my mother in Texas, who is a fellow countrywoman from Beaumont.” He desired to establish a fresh existence for himself. My father relocated to the United States from the Philippines on an academic grant with approximately $20 in his possession.

Gabriel has always had a fascination with beauty pageants.

Victoria Hinojosa, the victor, placed second in Miss Texas 2021 following her involvement in the contest. Gabriel hails from Friendswood, a town situated on the periphery of Houston. She engaged in the Miss Friendswood competition in 2021, which signified the commencement of her venture into beauty pageants.

Gabriel did not easily give up on participating in Miss Texas in July 2022, earning herself a spot in the Miss USA pageant once again.

In April, Celeste Cortesi, who was awarded the title of Miss Universe Philippines 2022, competed against Gabriel at Miss Universe 2022 on Saturday, another Filipina of mixed heritage.

Cortesi, 24, was raised in Italy before moving to the Philippines five years ago to pursue a career in pageantry. She is of Filipino-Italian descent.

Catriona Gray, the winner of Miss Universe 2018

epa07236522 Miss Philippines Catriona Gray jubilates after she was crowned as the new Miss Universe during the Miss Universe 2018 beauty pageant at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand, 17 December 2018. Women representing 94 nations will participate in the 67th Miss Universe 2018 beauty pageant in Bangkok. EPA/RUNGROJ YONGRIT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Miss Philippines Catriona Gray celebrates after being crowned Miss Universe 2018. Reuters

Catriona Gray, an Australian-Filipina, emerged as the winner of the Miss Universe title in the year 2018.

Gray, who was born in Queensland to a Filipino mother and an Australian father, moved to Manila to pursue a career in modeling after high school.

She placed in the top five in the contest where she went to represent her country at another major competition, the Miss World contest. After she was crowned Miss World in the Philippines in 2016, she went on to win Miss Universe, her biggest beauty contest victory, following her participation in a number of other beauty pageants like other pageant queens before her.

Deciding to participate in the long-running Pilipinas Binibining competition, Gray embarked on a journey in the world of pageantry, representing the Philippines in the international beauty pageants where she competed against 39 other contestants to beat and claim the title of Four Big’s representative.

Gray, who was 24 at the time, was the front-runner throughout the competition, impressing fans and judges alike with her well-crafted answers and charming personality. She emerged as the winner of the Miss Universe pageant.

Gray emerged as the champion among 93 participants from around the globe, making her the fourth Filipina to be crowned Miss Universe.

Pia Wurtzbach, the winner of Miss Universe 2015

Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is crowned Miss Universe 2015 on stage during the 2015 MISS UNIVERSE show at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, in Las Vegas, California, on December 20, 2015. Miss Philippines was named Miss Universe, but in a drama-filled turn worthy of a telenovela. The pageant's host comedian Steve Harvey, also a talk show host, misread the card which he said had Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach after winning the Miss Universe 2015 crown. AFP

In a rather clumsy manner, the crown was taken off her head and placed on Wurtzbach’s. Consequently, when host Steve Harvey mistakenly declared Miss Colombia as the winner, the infamous mistake occurred. Renowned for its fondness for beauty pageants, her nation experienced a lengthy period of 42 years without bringing the Miss Universe crown home until she achieved this feat. In numerous aspects, Wurtzbach’s victory in 2015 was of great historical significance.

Placed in the top 15, but only competed again in 2014 and participated in Binibining Pilipinas in 2013, securing the second position, she initially joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2013, achieving second place. Following the separation, which involved her mother and younger sister, they relocated to Manila, where she began her career in modeling and participated in talent competitions at the age of 11 to provide for her family. Wurtzbach was a mere 9 years old when her parents separated. She was born in Stuttgart, Germany, to a father from Germany and a mother from the Philippines.

Believing in the potential she had, she believed that she could go far to beat Wurtzbach and represent Miss Universe as the winning title for that year. She believed that she had the potential to beat the other 33 hopefuls and represent the winning title for that year at Miss Universe.

At the Miss Universe pageant, where 80 countries were present, Wurtzbach impressed the judges and quickly became a beloved contestant. Additionally, she was only 26 years old at the time.

Following the host’s acknowledgment of his error, the live transmission was abruptly terminated, preventing Wurtzbach from completing her victory walk as Miss Universe because of Harvey’s mishandled announcement.

After her victory, several weeks after her triumphant return to the Philippines, she finally had the opportunity to take her victory lap as the champion.

“After 42 years of drought, it is finally raining,” Wurtzbach expressed on Instagram shortly after her victory.