When it comes to big decisions such as choosing a career path, we often look for a benchmark or some sort of outline. After all, the people who have come before us have proven the right way of doing things. This is true for a lot of career paths, surprisingly, even in pageantry.
But every so often, a brave soul steps up and shows us that sometimes the road to success is the path you’re already on. And that’s exactly what our newly crowned Miss Universe, Catriona Gray did!
Catriona proudly represented the Philippines in the 67th Miss Universe Pageant held in Bangkok, Thailand and has brought home the 4th Miss Universe crown. Besides her #LavaWalk that has made rounds on everyone’s feed—Tyra Banks included!—Catriona Gray is sure to let everyone know that underneath her exquisite beauty is an even more beautiful mind.
Here are 5 moments Catriona Gray showed the universe she earned her crown. All by doing things that have never been done by any other Miss Philippines!
Before leaving for Thailand, Catriona released a single called “ We’re in this together.” It’s dedicated to Young Focus, an organization that gives free education to the children of Tondo, Manila. She’s one of the few beauty queens who puts her advocacy at the frontline of her career. Catriona single-handedly produced shows to raise funds to build schools in Tondo for Young Focus.
Did we mention that her single hit #1 on the charts, too?
LUZVIMINDA: “Magdiwang. Lumaban. Pagyamanin.”
When it comes to national costume, our Philippine representatives often go for a traditional Filipinana, Sarimanok, or native warrior. But again, Catriona proved unlike the rest of the candidates. She carried the whole country with her, representing all three main islands through culture and values.
She showcased Luzon through the parol (christmas lantern). Famously made in Apalit, Pampanga, her costume drew inspiration from our very own UNESCO Heritage Sites, the Philippine Baroque Churches. Behind it is the Philippine National Anthem written in baybayin. Paintings also featured key events, people, and culture in Philippine history that are worth celebrating.
Her bodysuit represented Visayas, patterned after the authentic tattoo designs of pintados based on the 1590 Boxer Codex.
Finally, authentic accessories represented Mindanao. A headpiece and footwear from South Cotabato with woven textiles showed our belief systems, ancestral and natural spirits, and cultural roots.
The Display of Philippine Heritage And Artistry
While she’s the 4th to bring home a Miss Universe crown, we’ve been seeing a lot of firsts from Catriona Gray. Her daily wardrobe, accessories, and competition wear, proudly displayed the love for her country with her support of Philippine artisans and their livelihood. Need we mention her ever iconic three stars and a sun ear cuff?
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Another one of my favourite outfits in my @missuniverse wardrobe from @jearsond in handmade burda callado Pinya silk top of LUMBAN LAGUNA, T'nalak belt and hand painted sampaguita skirt by Jeffrey Catuira 🇵🇭💛 Styled by @justine.aliman19 wearing @jearsond @bragaisjojo @callihandbags ✨
One Woman. Two Titles.
Did you know that Catriona Gray is the only Filipina who has ever won both national titles to the two biggest pageants in the world—or the universe, rather.
Catriona was crowned Miss World Philippines in 2016. Then she decided to go for another national title in this year’s Binibining Pilipinas 2018, securing her spot for the 67th Miss Universe.
Walks the “Confidently Beautiful” Talk
Besides being an ambassador of Young Focus PH, she also advocates for Love Yourself PH, and has stood up against body shaming at the latest She Talks Asia forum. She speaks boldly of her experiences and how they’ve molded her into the woman she is today. Catriona also uses her voice to stand up for what she believes in—which she confidently showed when she answered the Q&A portion of the Miss Universe pageant.
Ultimately, Catriona took the universe by stride, not by shadowing someone else’s journey but by creating her own benchmark of success. So, don’t be afraid to create your own path, you never know where it will take you.