By KEITH RUSSELL
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NORTH TEXAS, Texas (KTVT) — R’Bonney Gabriel can wear the crown proudly — 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 to be the first Asian American to win Miss Texas USA. I feel like I was able to inspire more Asian Americans to pursue pageants or any other career field they want…. even though they haven’t seen anyone like them in that space. It is an excellent example to lead the way.
Gabriel’s dramatic rise to stardom comes amid his entry into the pageant world just two years ago. It’s an example of what makes this country a land of opportunity.
It goes back to his father, who came to the United States with nothing more than a hope and a dream. She says, “My dad was my biggest inspiration because he came to America from the Philippines on a scholarship when he was 19. He had about $20 in his pocket, but he worked with what he had. He always said I wasn’t the smartest person in the room at college, but I worked harder than everyone else. He’s so proud of my background in pageantry, because I’ve worked so hard. I owe it all to him. »
She is originally from Texas, graduated from UNT with a degree in fashion design. Gabriel works at a nonprofit in Houston, salvages discarded materials and creates custom outfits…but much more.
She admits, “I’ve learned that you should share your blessings and talents with others because it will give you purpose in what you do.”
At the Perot Museum’s Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall, Gabriel could equate the exposure to the polish she now has – having once been a diamond in the rough. Now she teaches her skills to others, who often need help rebuilding their lives.
She describes the sewing class she teaches as “a five-week sewing course for women who have survived domestic violence or human trafficking, or simply to underserved communities to give them an opportunity.”
When asked, “When you see some of the women you help and maybe hear some of their personal journeys, how does that affect you?” She replied, “It just makes me want to help them as much as possible. I’m just kind of helping their mindset…to help them understand that all their past trials and tribulations don’t have to define their future.
The old adage says: heavy is the head that wears the crown. This is not the case for R’Bonney Gabriel. She relishes the pressure that comes with the platform, to have a positive impact every day.
“I just want to inspire people in my own way and do it across Texas, and hopefully Miss USA across the country as well,” Gabriel said.
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