Miss Universe USA 2022 is Fil-Am; Miss Spain speaks fluent Tagalog

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe season has returned, and Filipino pageant fans are ecstatic about the 71st Miss Universe competition. While our very own Celeste Cortesi is taking in the waves of support for Pinoys, there are also contestants who received their share of love from Filipinos as a result of their heritage and appreciation for our culture.

Miss Universe USA 2022 is Fil-Am; Miss Spain speaks fluent Tagalog
Miss USA 2022 R'bonney Gabriel is half Filipino, while Miss Spain Alicia Faubel speaks fluent Tagalog | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/ The Philippine Pageantry and Instagram/ Alicia Faubel

One of them is Miss USA 2022 R'bonney Gabriel, who represented Miss Texas in Miss USA 2022 and won last October 2022. While she waves the USA flag she’s representing on the Miss Universe stage, she’s also proud of her Filipino heritage.

UPDATE: Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel wins Miss Universe 2022

While the 28-year-old beauty queen was born and raised in the USA, her father is actually a Filipino, and her mother is a Texan. And if it had not been for the pandemic, R'bonney’s pageant plans would have been entirely different. This is because, before the pandemic, she already had plans to move to the Philippines. She continued by saying that her family is still close to their Filipino families here in the Philippines.

She said, "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."

Miss USA shared how thankful she is for the love and support she’s getting from the Filipino community. She said it warms her heart to feel the Filipino fans' energy for her. She said, "Well, to hear all the cheering and all the support just warms my heart. It really just gets me energized on stage... The energy is just the best. I really feel all of it, and I'm so grateful."

Meanwhile, Miss Spain Alicia Faubel is another Miss Universe contestant who has impressed many Filipino pageant fans with how fluent she is in the Tagalog language. She is proud that she’s able to connect with Filipino fans in Tagalog. On her Instagram, you’ll see her recent visits to the Philippines, where she speaks fluent Tagalog with people, including children she met on the streets. In one of her videos, she’s seen happily talking in Tagalog with kids as they eat street foods in Manila.

In a post, Alicia explained that, while she has no Filipino blood, the Philippines has been her home for 3 years. She said she loves the Filipino people, and being in the country feels like being at home. She wrote, “Manila was home for me for almost 3 years, and even though I don’t have Filipino blood, my heart has always been part of the Philippines, and once again, it doesn’t fail to make me feel like it’s my own home. The hospitality and the warmth of the people never stops to mesmerize me.”

Even more impressive, both beauty queens chose Filipino designers and teams to support them in the 71st Miss Universe competition. Filipino designer Patrick Isoren designed Miss USA's national costume, while Filipino designer Rian Fernandez made her evening gown. Miss Spain’s bright red evening gown was made by another Filipino designer, Ehrran Montoya.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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