Miss Texas R’Bonney Gabriel made history on Oct. 3 as the first Filipina American to be crowned Miss USA.
Gabriel, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, will go on to represent the U.S. next year at the Miss Universe pageant. Gabriel said she designed her dress to pay tribute to her heritage and parents.
“My mom is from Beaumont, Texas, and my father is from the Philippines,” Gabriel wrote in an Instagram post. “They got married in Manila, Philippines. I hand-painted the same flower design from my mother’s wedding dress onto my sleeves and tied in a traditional Maria Clara Filipina collar shape. I have immense gratitude for the [opportunities] my parents provided me and wanted to express my love to them through this.”
Her win coincides with Filipino American History Month, which started in October.