Miss USA insists she won the beauty pageant fairly and had ‘no unfair advantage,’ despite many of her fellow contestants claiming the contest was rigged.
R’Bonney Gabriel – a fashion designer who previously won Miss Texas – told E! News’s The Rundown: ‘It was not rigged, because I would never enter any pageant or any competition that I would know I would win. I have a lot of integrity.’
Fellow contestants – including ringleader Miss Montana, Heather Lee O’Keefe – are claiming the 28-year-old’s win was predetermined and that they have the ‘receipts’ to back it up.
Her fellow contestants, who left the stage immediately after her crowning, are blaming her win on ‘favoritism’ by organizers and pointed out that a spa company that offers a prize to the winner featured her in an ad less than 24 hours after winning.
R’Bonney Gabriel – a fashion designer who previously won Miss Texas – said the competition ‘was not rigged, because I would never enter any pageant or any competition that I would know I would win. I have a lot of integrity’
She was crowned on Monday night (pictured) and shortly after, fellow contestants come out to say the whole thing was rigged and she had preferential treatment
Gabriel, the first Asian and Filipina American to win the competition, said a lot of the evidence contestants have presented were taken out of context.
From the photo of the pageant director doing her hair to the controversial timing of the plastic surgery spa commercial, Miss USA debunks some of the rumors …
Miss USA claims she was just a brand ambassador for the plastic surgery spa since it also sponsored the Miss Texas competition
Gabriel was seen in a sponsored video from NIZUC spas less than 24 hours after her crowning, appearing to have enjoyed her prize, but the beauty queen said she was just a brand ambassador for the company
MIA Beaute, which opened a spa at NIZUC resorts in Mexico, was a sponsor of Miss Texas and Gabriel said a lot of people work as brand ambassadors for national sponsors prior to Miss USA. However, O’Keefe insisted to DailyMail.com that that was a violation of the handbook
NIZUC Resort & Spa posted a video of Gabriel visiting their establishment less than 24 hours after her crowning, which riled up her fellow Class of 2022, who claimed the video was shot nine weeks earlier.
O’Keefe claimed it was a clear indication of ‘favoritism’ and that the trip happened ‘nine weeks ago,’ far before the crowning on Monday night.
‘@MissUSA was crowned less than 24 hours ago, yet she already got her sponsored vacation to @NIZUCResort,’ the blonde bombshell wrote on Instagram. ‘Are you kidding me? I was giving y’all the benefit of the doubt, but this is just embarrassing at this point.’
However, Gabriel said she was simply a brand ambassador for the company’s affiliate MIA Beaute, which also sponsors the Miss Texas pageant and was opening a new spa at the NIZUC resort in Mexico.
‘I was a brand ambassador for MIA after I won my title as Miss Texas. And when we got to Miss USA, the girls were kind of wondering: “What’s happening here?”
But there’s been a lot of times where titleholders will work with sponsors for Miss USA before the competition and that will be promoted after the competition if they win or not,’ she told The Rundown.
She also claimed that NIZUC ‘did not fly me out, I flew myself out.’
However, O’Keefe insisted to DailyMail.com that that was a violation of the handbook and that Gabriel was not allowed to work with Miss USA national sponsors.
In addition, it’s not just the promotional video that got contestants riled up, but the fact that one of the judges at the Miss USA competition was the founder of MIA.
The founder also allegedly posted a photo of Miss Texas on his Instagram story, which swirled the rumor mill even more.
‘Ever since Miss Texas was crowned a couple months ago, she has been shown favoritism by the Miss USA organization through their businesses that are also all owned by the same woman,’ O’Keefe said.
The viral hair moment was actually taken the day after the crowning, Gabriel claims
A photo of Crystle Stewart (pictured in black) doing Gabriel’s hair went viral, sparking concerns that she got preferential treatment. However, Gabriel insisted the photo was taken the day after she won when she was getting her Miss USA official headshots
A photo of Crystle Stewart, one of the Miss USA organizers, doing Gabriel’s hair backstage has been circulating.
The seemingly innocent photo of Stewart pulling the winner’s hair into a tight ponytail is evidence of her favoratism, the other contestants have claimed.
However, Gabriel said it happened the day after the crowning right before her official Miss USA headshots.
‘That’s the first thing I did after I won was wake up the next day and do hair and makeup and Crystle was there, of course,’ she told The Rundown. ‘She stepped in and actually in my hair because she said: “Hey, I can do a snatched ponytail” and I said: “I’d love to see it.”
‘So she hopped in and did it,’ she explained. ‘Unfortunately, it looks like it maybe happened before I won, but that is my official Miss USA headshot after I won.’
Stewart also runs a pageant coaching business called Miss Academy, which Gabriel reportedly attended prior to the crowning, O’Keefe claimed.
Miss Texas was also reportedly the ‘only one’ featured on the official Miss USA page, a move O’Keefe said ‘no other state contestant got.’
‘And then they posted a public apology,’ she said. ‘Y’all don’t tell me you can’t see [favoritism].’
She also claimed that many contestants felt the need to spend their own money on Miss Academy classes to ‘feel like they had a chance.’
‘A lot of girls felt that they needed to work with Miss Academy to feel like they had a chance at doing well at Miss USA,’ she said on the livestream. ‘Which I think is really unfortunate.
Tuition ranges from $2,500 to $1,400, according to O’Keefe, with $500 ‘a la carte’ classes also being offered.
‘It’s a lot of money, [that’s] the point I’m trying to make,’ she said. ‘They really lead us to believe that we needed to go to Miss Academy to take these lessons from them to do well at Miss USA – at least a lot of us were under the impression.’
Contestants left the stage as soon as the crown landed on her head, but Gabriel insists they showed support backstage
One of the most defining moments of the 2022 Miss USA contest was when the other beauty queens left the stage after the crowning
As the credits rolled, the runner-ups can be seen leaving the stage (pictured), which is an unusual sight. Normally, the runners-up stand with a forced smile and clap as the credits roll – but there were no such pleasantries at the end of this year’s pageant. Gabriel said the producers told them to leave the stage due to a time constraint
One of the most defining moments of the 2022 Miss USA contest was when the other beauty queens left the stage after the crowning.
As the credits rolled, the runner-ups can be seen leaving the stage, which is an unusual sight.
Normally, the runners-up stand with a forced smile and clap as the credits roll – but there were no such pleasantries at the end of this year’s pageant.
Former Miss USA contestant Jasmine Jones, who has been in pageantry for 10 years, claimed it was ‘obvious’ that the contest was rigged when the women began leaving the stage.
‘In any pageant you’ve ever been in, the production manager tells you you stay on stage until she’s done, you stand there and you clap,’ she said in a TikTok.
‘In the background, girls were literally clapping [weakly] and they started exiting the stage before she even turned around for her congratulatory hug from other contestants.’
‘Before she even got halfway down the runway for her crowning moment, the contestants behind her were exiting the stage.’
She said it was a ‘big tell-all’ that ‘something was off.’
In an Instagram Live on Wednesday, O’Keefe agreed that early exit was ‘unprecedented’ and had ‘never happened before.’
The beauty queen claimed it was ‘not planned’ and it wasn’t done because of ‘bitter’ feelings.
Miss Montana Heather Lee O’Keefe has been vocal about alleged favoritism Miss Texas has reportedly received. She has come forward to say she has nothing against Gabriel, but believes the contest was rigged
‘We all just acted, in the moment, what we thought was right,’ she said during the live broadcast on Wednesday. ‘We are a class of Division I athletes, Harvard alumni, lawyers, doctors, scientists, and people who fought for their citizenship to this country.
‘We are the farthest thing from sore losers.’
Both women have come out and said they have nothing against Gabriel.
‘Nothing against Texas as a person, I truly think she could’ve won fair and square, but unfortunately all of this drama has tainted her win. But there’s just too much evidence of favoritism to let this go unnoticed,’ O’Keefe said on social media.
However, Gabriel was insistent that they didn’t leave the stage over her win.
‘I did not think so,’ she told The Rundown. ‘Something I heard from production was that our time was cut short, so the girls couldn’t come out to the stage because there wasn’t time and they didn’t want the girls to go into that bubble and maybe fall.
‘But when I went back to the girls, they all hugged me.’
She also said she ‘got along with all the girls she encountered’ and she ‘wasn’t aware’ of any rumor that her win was rigged.
O’Keefe and Gabriel (pictured) have not spoken since the end of the competition, but both have said they would be willing to talk
However, O’Keefe told DailyMail.com that Gabriel was ‘on her own’ when she got backstage, but insisted their problems did not lie with the winner.
Gabriel also insisted she wasn’t favored because she was from Texas – where Miss USA is based out of it.
‘It has to be [from] some state, it just so happens to be mine,’ she told The Rundown. ‘It’s just a coincidence that I am from Texas and lot of the organization team is as well.’
O’Keefe reiterated to DailyMail.com in an interview on Friday, that many of the organizers and those who work under Stewart are from the Houston-area and that the Miss Texas competition got the most sponsorship money, including from Miss Academy, which Stewart owns.
Miss Montana also mentioned that she has not talked to Gabriel yet, but is open for a conversation and hopes to see her do an Instagram Live to answers fans and critics questions, she told DailyMail.com on Friday.
Gabriel told The Rundown she’d ‘talk to anybody.’
‘I want to be transparent,’ she said. ‘I want people to know that there was no unfair advantage, nothing was rigged.
‘I don’t want people to think this is how pageantry works.’
DailyMail.com has attempted to reach Gabriel for comment.