MANILA – Catriona Gray became the fourth Filipina to be crowned Miss Universe after she won the prestigious beauty pageant in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday.
Gray redeemed herself from her runner-up finish in the 2016 Miss World by living up to the hype of her being the heavy favorite to win it all, as she prevailed over South Africa’s Tamaryn Green and Venezuela’s Sthefany Gutierrez.
She takes over the crown from her predecessor Demi-Leigh Nel Peters from South Africa.
Clad in a fiery red evening gown by Filipino designer Mak Tumang, Gray gracefully walked into the pageant’s runway as she was named the new Miss Universe.
Gray’s answer in the final question-and-answer portion virtually clinched the title for her.
When host Steve Harvey asked the finalists about the most important lesson they have learned in their lives and the ways to apply it should either of them becomes Miss Universe, Gray replied, “I worked a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila; and the life there is very… it’s poor, and it’s very sad. And I always taught myself to look for the beauty in it — to look for the beauty of the faces of the children; and to be grateful. And I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with the silver lining. And to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson. And this I think 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 faces.”
In the question-and-answer portion prior to that, Gray was asked about her stand on marijuana legalization, and she said that she supports its legalization solely for medicinal purposes.
Joining Gray in the final three of the pageant were Green and Gutierrez, who were crowned first and second-runner ups, respectively.
Gray earlier stunned netizens with her “slow-motion turn” during the preliminary competition of the pageant.
Previous Miss Universe winners from the Philippines were Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margarita Moran (1973) and Gloria Diaz (1969). (With Benjamin Bondoc/PNA) By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno