Catriona Gray from the Philippines claimed the Miss Universe crown for 2018 on Monday, beating contestants from 94 countries in the 67th edition of the beauty pageant that was held in Bangkok on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Filipina-Australian has become the fourth Filipina to bring home the coveted title.
Miss Universe 2018 Winner, Catriona Gray entered her first pageant at the age of 5 and moved to the United
States to study where she pursued music at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts.
Becoming the fourth Filipino woman to win the crown, the 24-year old received her crown from last year’s winner Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa. The ‘Top 5’ who proceeded to the Q&A section of the event included Catriona Gray (Miss Philippines), Kiara Ortega (Miss Puerto Rico), Tamaryn Green (Miss South Africa), Sthefany Gutierrez (Miss Venezuela) and H’Hen Nie (Miss Vietnam).
The winner was chosen by an all-female panel of judges which included Colombian-American CEO Liliana Gil Valletta, Janaye Ingram, fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, former Miss Universe winners Michelle McLean and Bui Simon, Iman Oubou, and Richelle Singson-Michael.
The pageant was hosted by Steve Harvey for the third straight year and model Ashley Graham at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. The global event also featured Grammy-winning RnB artist Ne-Yo performance. This year’s pageant was praised for its inclusivity and diversity. Spain’s Angela Ponce made history as the pageant’s first openly transgender contestant, and Rosa Montezuma represented Panama as its first indigenous Miss Universe contestant.
ARRIVES IN THE PHILIPPINES
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray gave out a Christmas message to her fellow Filipinos upon her return to the country on Wednesday.
Speaking with reporters after arriving via private jet at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Gray said she hopes more Filipinos will “get into the spirit of giving this Christmas.”
Open up your heart to your neighbors, to a cause, to a charity near you,” said Gray, who was reunited with some of the beneficiaries of her Tondo-based charity house, Young Focus Philippines, upon her arrival.
“Because Christmas should be enjoyed by all no matter where you are, no matter where you’re from, what you have. It really is a time for family and forgiving,” she added.
Gray’s return to Manila will only be a short visit for private engagements.
Her official homecoming, which traditionally includes a motorcade and TV appearances, has yet to be arranged.
When asked where she will celebrate Christmas, the Philippines’ fourth Miss Universe winner replied: “Di ko alam pa. As long as I’m with my family, masaya ako.”
Gray is expected to be based in New York to fulfill her duties as Miss Universe just like her predecessors, which include her compatriot, Pia Wurtzbach. (ABS-CBN, CNN ph)