Miss Universe denies Miss Texas rigged pageant controversy

native Texan named Miss USA was awarded Miss Universe, the pageant circuit’s most coveted crown, on Saturday, January 14, at the 71st Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans and the distinction is not without drama. Houston native R’Bonney Gabriel became the first Miss USA to be given the honor in 10 years and she is the first Filipino American to be named Miss Texas, Miss USA, and Miss Universe. 

Miss USA made waves online before being crowned after Gabriel donned a 30-pound 1969 U.S. moon walk-inspired costume that spanned 36-inches in diameter. 

Miss USA, R'bonney Gabriel walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Miss USA, R’bonney Gabriel walks onstage during the 71st Miss Universe Competition National Costume show at New Orleans Morial Convention Center on January 11, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/Getty Images)

Josh Brasted/Getty Images

“On July 20, 1969 two US astronauts became the first humans to step foot on the moon accomplishing one of the most remarkable achievements in human history,” Gabriel said in an Instagram post. “Fast forward to today and women are involved more than ever in the Artemis program aiming to send the US back to the moon. As a Houston native, where the NASA space center is located, I am proud to be from a city working to send the first female to the moon.”

Aside from a slew of memes and online commentary, it seems the costume ruffled the feathers of Russian state media, who said it symbolized “American arrogance and pride.”

Claims of favoritism and previous allegations of rigging at Miss USA 




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