Catriona Gray didn’t just win the Miss Universe competition in 2018. She actually owned it.
The Miss Universe competition has seen pageant winners from across countries over the years, who impressed audiences with their beauty, charisma, and intelligence. But there would be few in the league of the contest winner from the Philippines in 2018. Her name is Catriona Gray.
Catriona is of Scottish-Filipino ethnicity and grew up in Australia. She shifted to the Philippines at the age of 18 to pursue a modeling career.
It is not at all surprising, in retrospect, that Catriona is a pageant veteran. She was earlier crowned as Miss World Philippines in 2016 and also made it to the top 5 in the Miss World competition. In fact, she was part of the Little Miss Philippines pageant way back in Sydney in 1999. Besides being a model and a Choi Kwang Do black belt, Catriona is also trained in music and is a singer and songwriter.
For those who kept a tab on the Miss Universe in Bangkok, Thailand in 2018, Catriona seemed to be a winner since day one.
The adulation started with her runway walk in the preliminary round when her slo-mo twirl started breaking the internet at lightning speed. Even famous American supermodel, television personality, actress and producer Tyra Banks could not help but admire her confidence and verve, as she tweeted, “I mean…Pinoy (refers to people of Philippines) Power to the Max!!!” Banks was profuse in her praise for Gray’s walk and confidence which she called “Next level fierce”.
Gray did not stop there. Her dresses were the talk of the town at every level. She showed the way on how contestants should be showcasing their national heritage. At the big stage, wore a fiery custom gown that featured a portrait of the Mayon volcano in sequins, a creation of Filipino designer Mak Tumang. Her lava walk in this ensemble impressed the hosts Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham. Tumang called Catriona the modern day Daragang Magayon (mythical heroine) who “embodies the Filipina’s beauty, intelligence and burning passion”.
Besides her moves on the ramp, Gray also generated strong reactions with her winning answer to the question, “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life, and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?”
While referring to her experience of poverty while working in slums of Manila, she answered, “I’ve always taught myself to look for the beauty in it (the condition of the people), to look for the beauty in the faces of the children, and to be grateful. I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining, and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson. If I could teach also people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their face.”
Catriona not only won the Miss Universe crown in 2018, but also raised the oomph quotient for the event to a whole new level. She is right up there among the Miss Universe title holders of all time.
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ONE WEEK AGO TODAY 😍✨ Philippines, what an honour it was to carry your name across my heart. 🇵🇭 @missuniverse I am grateful for so, so much. This year all my prayers were answered. 🙏 More so, I am so thankful I get to be with my loving parents and through Ms Universe, be able to bring joy to 104 million Filipinos this Christmas. Maligayang Pasko Philippines! Mahal ko kayo 🎁💙✨ #MissUniverse
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Like a star, she is held by her own gravity, she knows nothing about belonging to someone else’s grounds. – VàZaki Nada 💫 Can you believe that exactly 4 weeks ago (😱), we strut down the @missuniverse stage in our @sirivannavari_shop swimsuits and galaxy capes? ✨💙 #MissUniverse #LavaWalk 🌋