Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel has compared getting ready for a beauty pageant to training for the Olympics.
The 29-year-old fashion designer/model was crowned Miss Universe back in January after previously winning the Miss Texas USA competition in 2022 and going on to be named Miss USA 2022 - and she has now opened up about how much work goes into getting ready for the high-profile contests.
She told Maxim magazine: "Training for pageants is like training for the Olympics. I’m telling you, it’s so intense, and I trained my mind, body, and soul every single day."
R'Bonney also admitted there were times when she thought about giving up on her beauty queen dreams because of all the failures she had to endure on her way to victory.
She explained: "I had to win Miss Texas and then Miss USA, which granted me a spot to compete at Miss Universe. So I entered my state level in Texas. I received first runner-up three times in a row, and the rejection and failure was pretty rough because there was so much time and money put into it.
"I didn’t know if I wanted to keep going and keep investing all my time and resources into it, but I would always take that failure as a step back to really understand what I could do better."
R'Bonney also confessed she wasn't sure if she really had won Miss Universe because the crowd at the event was cheering so loudly she couldn't hear the announcement. She waited for the crown and sash to be brought over to her because she didn't want to start celebrating if she had misheard.
She added: "When they said my name, I was like: 'Wait, is it really me?’ because I didn’t want to be wrong and celebrate. So Miss Venezuela and I were looking at each other and I was in so much shock, but when I saw the crown and sash coming towards me, it was an indescribable feeling."