Houston, Miss USA has landed. When Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel took the stage in the Miss Universe 2023 National Costume Show this week, she wore the moon.
Gabriel's costume, an homage to NASA's Apollo 11 lunar landing and current Artemis program, included an actual scale-sized moon held up over her head by an intricate frame surrounded by gleaming silver stars and an outfit bedecked by red, white and blue lights. She carried an American flag to complete the look.
"On July 20, 1969 two U.S. astronauts became the first humans to step foot on the moon accomplishing one of the most remarkable achievements in human history. Fast forward to today and women are involved more than ever in the Artemis program aiming to send the US back to the moon," Gabriel (opens in new tab), 28. wrote of the costume on Instagram (opens in new tab) via her clothing brand R'Bonney Nola.
"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," she added.
Houston is the location of NASA's Johnson Space Center, home of the agency's Mission Control Center for human spaceflight mission and astronaut training centers.
"The purpose of this costume was to inspire women in all spaces across the universe to dream big, shoot for the moon and achieve something out of this world," Gabriel wrote.
Gabriel, the first Filipina American Miss USA, chose Filipino designer Patrick Isorena (opens in new tab) to create the costume. Isorena also designed Gabriel's Miss Texas costume in the Miss USA 2022 pageant, according to ABS CBN News. (opens in new tab) Isorena told ABS CBN News that the costume weighs up to 33 pounds (15 kilograms).
The Miss Universe 2023 pageant wraps up tonight (Jan. 14) in New Orleans. The National Costume Show occurred on Thursday (Jan. 12). You can see the full National Costume Show below.