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R'bonney Gabriel says Catriona Gray is her Miss Universe inspiration

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Nov 03, 2023 1:40 pm

Miss Universe 2022 R'bonney Gabriel shared that her inspiration for facing up to the challenges of the world's top pageant is none other than fellow half-Pinay beauty queen and Miss Universe titleholder Catriona Gray.

R'bonney, who is born to a Filipino father and an American mother, made the revelation in an Instagram post on Monday, Oct. 30.

She wrote, "Respect is given where respect is due! When I was training for Miss Universe, @catriona_gray was inspiration for me and a great example of a talented, well rounded woman."

Her post also featured a photo of her and the Miss Universe 2018, which was shot for the cover story of Vogue Philippines' October 2023 issue. Apart from Catriona, the Fil-Am beauty queen graced the fashion magazine's front page alongside Miss World 2013 Megan Young, the reigning Miss Universe Philippines 2023 Michelle Dee, and her mother, Miss International 1979 Mimilanie Laurel Marquez.

Meanwhile, Catriona made sure to give back praise and support to the reigning Miss Universe queen in the comments section of the post.

“Aw thanks Queen @rbonneynola !! So proud of your journey...just getting started! Can't wait to see what you conquer next!!” Catriona said.

R'bonney represented the United States at the 71st Miss Universe pageant held on January 14 in Louisiana, United States. She was the first Filipino-American queen to have been crowned Miss Universe. 

The 28-year-old model and fashion designer was born and raised in the U.S. but revealed in an interview with ABS-CBN sports reporter Dyan Castillejo that she was planning to live in the Philippines before the world was locked down by COVID-19.

"I have always wanted to move to Asia or live in Asia," the beauty queen said, noting that she dreams of going to Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines. 

"Actually before COVID, I had plans to move to Manila. COVID kind of happened, and the plans changed so I still dream of doing that one day," she added.