It’s only a few days before Christmas, Catriona Gray just gave fellow Filipinos one of the greatest and most precious gifts we could ever receive – by taking home the fourth Miss Universe crown for the Philippines.
In bated breaths, beauty pageant aficionados nervously, yet patiently, waited for perennial host Steve Harvey to announce who’s going to be the winner for the 67th staging of the competition held in Bangkok, Thailand, this Monday, December 17.
We already knew that she had a huge chance to really make it up to the last as she exuded the aura and the heart and wisdom of a true beauty queen, with how she presented herself in the preliminary round last week and in the main staging of the competition.
Almost everyone, particularly the beauty pageant aficionados, were already convinced right from the beginning that she really has what it takes to be the next Miss Universe winner – from her unmistakable beauty and show-stopping parade onstage in her swimsuit and evening gown up to her incredible eloquence in answering the questions for the initial and final Q&A.
The 24-year-old Filipino-Australian beauty queen indeed stood out and sparkled among the rest of the 93 contenders with how she confidently sashayed, twirled, and posed in her two-piece pink bikini during the swimsuit round and in her glittery red-hot high-slit sweetheart number artistically designed by Pinoy fashion designer Mak Tumang in the next portions of the contest. Besides, her iconic three stars and a sun ear cuff did not just added glamour to her overall look, but added a more nationalistic vibe.
However, what overwhelmed us the most and strengthened our faith to her capabilities was her on-point and clever retorts to the questions given to her.
In the first Q&A, in which the questions were said to come from their fellow candidates, she was quizzed about her thoughts regarding the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay and Canada. She responded that she was okay with it, as long as it’s for medicinal use and not for recreation, and should be consumed in moderation similar with alcohol and cigarettes.
But it was her final word to the final question, “What is the most important lesson you have learned in your life, and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?”, which earned her boisterous cheers from the live and TV audiences and hoisted her to the highest spot.
“I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila and the life there is poor and very sad. And I’ve always taught to myself to look for the beauty of it and look in the beauty of the faces of the children and to be grateful. And I will 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. And this I think if I can teach people to be grateful, we can have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster and children will have smile on their faces,” she stated, referring to the charity efforts she’s been doing even before entering the world of pageantry.
Miss Venezuela and Miss South Africa came in second and third place, respectively.
She now joins Pinay beauty queens Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), and Pia Wurtzbach (2015) to win the Miss Universe title.
Congratulations, Catriona! Thank you for not only bringing back the crown to the Philippines, but for also giving our country pride and recognition with how you incorporated our cultures and traditions in your triumphant stint.
In this gallery, let’s reminisce Catriona’s winning moment that made Filipinos around the world proud.