R’Bonney Gabriel, Miss United States, was crowned this Saturday, January 14, at the New Orleans Convention Center, in Louisiana, as Miss Universe 2022.
The 28-year-old designer and model is from Houston, Texas, and is a sports lover. In addition, she is the CEO of her own sustainable clothing line, R’Bonney Nola.
She prevailed over the candidates from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, who took second and third place, respectively.
Before she was announced the winner, she answered questions from the jury about how she would use her title.
“I would use the title of Miss Universe to be an agent of change, a leader. I have used fashion as a force for good. In my career I have never used materials that harm the environment and rather have helped women who have suffered violence… It seems important to me to unite to make a difference. We can all come together and be vehicles for change,” she said.
The gala kicked off at 7 pm with a party enlivened by the singer Amanda Shaw, who, among a lot of color, led the parade that took the 83 candidates to the center of the stage.
Subsequently, it gave way to Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo and the actress and presenter Jeannie Mai Jenkins, who were in charge of announcing and presenting each of the candidates and revealing the winner.
Unlike previous years (when an equal number of candidates per continent were chosen to advance to the next round) in this edition’s format, 16 contestants were selected regardless of their region.
The top 16 was made up of the representatives of Puerto Rico, Haiti, Australia, the Dominican Republic, Laos, South Africa, Portugal, Canada, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Curacao, India, Venezuela, Spain and Colombia. They paraded in evening dress and bathing suit.
From there came the five semifinalists, all representatives of countries in the Americas. They were the applicants from Venezuela, the United States, Puerto Rico, Curacao and the Dominican Republic.
The top three was finally reduced to Venezuela, the United States and the Dominican Republic, who again faced questions from the jury and made their last catwalk.
Tica is on the way
Although María Fernanda Rodríguez, Miss Costa Rica 2022, was confident on stage during the preliminary competition on Wednesday, January 11, 16 other candidates were selected to advance to the round.
The native of San Carlos drew attention from the preliminary because in her presentations she always carried a positive message, especially when highlighting the promotion of LESCO (Costa Rican Sign Language). She was the only contestant to introduce herself with sign language at the start of the pageant.
At the preliminary gala, the Tica paraded in a fuchsia two-piece swimsuit, which she accessorized with a cape that was painted by Jessica, an artist with Down syndrome.
Later he paraded in gala dress. For that occasion, María Fernanda chose a white dress designed by the Mexican Benito Santos. The national showed ease and security on stage, she even moved her dress and her hair during her presentation.
Minutes later, in the fantasy costume competition, she paraded in a hummingbird costume whose wings were made and painted by hand by the artist from San Carlos Briyett Rodríguez with reusable materials.
The costume included a helmet with a peak and a corset with sequins in blue and green tones, designed by Mauricio Jiménez, the model’s trainer.
In this presentation, Rodríguez lowered his head towards his right hand, in which he had a flower; with this, he resembled a hummingbird feeding on the nectar of flowers.
“She is a hummingbird that reminds us of perseverance, stamina, strength and tenacity. Her costume features a corset and wings made from recycled materials, as a way to protest against disposable fashion, ”said the presenter during the appearance of the tica in the competition.
María Fernanda Rodríguez is a civil engineer, she is 25 years old and is from San Carlos. She has 10 years of experience as a model and won the Miss Costa Rica crown on September 24, 2022.