Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
PHOTO BY MISS UNIVERSE
DUBAI – “Next time the sun rises, the Universe will be upon us.”
It was as if Catriona Gray knew she would win the coveted crown when she posted this message on her Facebook page a day ahead of the pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand.
And she did take home the crown, besting 93 candidates around the world to become Miss Universe 2018. Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green was the first runner-up and Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutiérrez was the second runner-up.
Here’s all you need to know about the new Miss Universe.
Catriona succeeds Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa, and is the fourth Filipina to wear the crown. Pia Wurtzbach won the Miss Universe in 2015.
Catriona’s father, Ian Gray, is Scottish and her mother, Normita Magnayon, is Filipino. During the pageant, Catriona said she is “very, very close” to her parents.
Catriona, 24, was born in Cairns, Australia. She moved to the Philippines when she was 18, reportedly using money she earned from modeling to buy her plane ticket.
In Sydney where she grew up, Catriona joined the Little Miss Philippines pageant in 1999 when she was six years old.
Catriona worked as a model in various commercials and magazines before joining the pageant world.
Catriona attended college at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachussetts.
She has one album out and at the pageant Catriona said: “Once I started music, it just was fulfilling in a way that everything else wasn’t. My mom told me even in the womb I was dancing.”
When Miss Universe host Steve Harvey asked her what song she would write about her experience at the pageant, she replied: “As Miss Philippines I’ve always felt the love and support of the Filipino people and I think I brought half of my country here tonight.. I would name the song ‘Raise Your Flag’ because I stand here not as one but as 104 million Filipinos!”
Catriona is a skilled painter and uses her artwork to raise money for charity.
Her signature twirl on the runway, also known as the “slow-mo twirl”, became a big hit during the swimsuit portion of the Miss Universe pageant.
Catriona has started a project called Paraiso: The Bright Beginnings Project and has been working to raise money for a preschool for underprivileged children.
Catriona has travelled extensively across the Philippines, Vietnam, China, US and Vietnman. You can read about her travels on her blog, Cat’elle.
Catriona’s boyfriend is German-Filipino actor Clint Bondad, whom she also travels with.
Catriona is a martial artist who started training in Choi Kwang Do when she was 8 years old. She earned her black belt when she was 12.
Catriona’s red gown was designed by Mak Tumang and was inspired by the Mayon volcano in her hometown of Albay. Catriona, in the post-pageant press conference, said the colour of her gown was significant because her mother previously dreamed that she wore a red dress in the competition and won.
Catriona’s earcuffs designed by Tessera Jewelry is a tribute to the three stars and sun of the Philippine flag. She wore a similar design when she won the Binibining Pilipinas crown.
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