As the first Filipina-American to win Miss Texas USA, the Houston-based fashion designer made history.
After Miss Kentucky Elle Smith won the title of Miss USA in 2021, she was crowned Miss USA in October 2022.
“Oh my God, what a privilege. After her victory, Gabriel told Houston Life, “I’m getting messages on Instagram and just social media from Filipina girls and women telling me they’re so excited, they’re so happy.”
“They’re so happy that they’re crying tears of inspiration to pursue pageantry or something.” It’s as though I’m clearing the path for them to pursue anything they desire, no matter what. Thus, it’s a privilege.”
The beauty queen has been prepping for Saturday’s competition in New Orleans by posting behind-the-scenes photos to her Instagram.
“I think I’m having a dream! Being around such gorgeous women this week has been really motivating,” she wrote, attaching multiple photos of herself and other competitors.
Gabriel astonished the audience on Thursday by modeling a “woman on the moon” look for the competition’s national costume round.
The message she wished to convey with the ensemble, according to her Instagram bio, is to “dream big, shoot for the moon and achieve something out of this world.
Her Miss Universe bio states that in her spare time, she enjoys reading, hula hooping, and backpacking.
In 2018, Gabriel graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in fashion design and a minor in fibers.
When she was fifteen years old, she picked up sewing and immediately fell in love with the process of creating things out of textiles and fabrics.
She worked as an intern for fashion designer Nicole Miller in New York City following her time in college.
According to Gabriel’s biography, she is a “eco-friendly fashion designer, sewing instructor for domestic violence survivors, artist helping women learn tools for success, advocate for sustainability in the fashion industry.”
She made a dress for the Miss Texas USA opening number out of a coat she discovered at a thrift shop.
She frequently creates her own outfits for interviews and rehearsals, and she gave her Instagram followers a preview of what she will be wearing.
Prior to becoming a member of the Miss Universe Organization, Gabriel had six years of modeling experience.
In addition to becoming leaders in business, politics, and medicine, past winners of the competition—which is now in its 71st year—have accomplished many other notable feats.
The 70th Miss Universe, Indian Bollywood actress Harnaaz Sandhu, will crown the winner.