This momentous occasion marks a shift away from Eurocentric beauty standards to embrace more diversity, inclusion, and representation in beauty. For the first time ever, Texas will be represented by two Asian-American women in two of the most prestigious events in the US. On June 25th, Averie Bishop, 26, made history by becoming the first Asian-American woman to win the title of Miss Texas America. Born and raised in McKinney, she attended school in Prosper and now lives in Dallas.
Just a week later, on July 2nd, history was made again when R'Bonney Gabriel, a 28-year-old Houston native, became the first Asian-American woman to win the title of Miss Texas USA. Bishop, who graduated from law school, currently runs her own social media consulting business. Gabriel is a model and fashion designer who studied fashion design and graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the University of North Texas. She works with the non-profit organization Magpies and Peacocks in East Downtown to improve sustainability within the industry. Gabriel teaches sewing to women from marginalized communities as well as survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.
She hopes to help them develop skills, work for themselves, and find a sense of community. Gabriel is currently in Reno, Nevada competing for Miss USA which is a beauty pageant. If she wins the national title on Monday she will compete in the Miss Universe pageant. Bishop will compete for Miss America which is a scholarship contest on December. Their platform is Y'all Means All which promotes diversity and inclusion.
She tells ABC13 that she plans to perform a vocal performance of On My Own by Les Misérables for the talent competition. You can follow Gabriel's journey on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok and Bishop's journey on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. Beauty pageants can teach girls to trust their appearance as a means of success and validation while diminishing the importance of knowledge, kindness, empathy, and other similar traits. In addition, they can be excellent platforms for improving communication skills and coping with life's difficulties such as disappointment, failure, and stress. Former Miss America winner Nina Davuluri faced xenophobic, racist, and sexist comments on social media despite her advances in defending diversity, gender equality, and promoting STEM education. People participating in these contests have used the platform to empower others like them while many others have also used them as a way to advance their careers despite their diverse professions they have chosen.
Women are sexualized as a form of entertainment and these contests promote standards of beauty that are not realistic. Beauty pageants therefore celebrate not only physical beauty but also having a delicate and feminine personality. Critics of beauty pageants argue that these contests reinforce the idea that women and men should be valued primarily for their physical appearance which puts enormous pressure on many to conform to conventional beauty standards by spending time and money on fashion, cosmetics, hairstyles, and even cosmetic surgery.