Catriona Gray has been slaying the Miss Universe 2018 preliminaries, so much so that many believe she will be the next Miss Universe.
Around two weeks before she left for Thailand at an Olay #FearlessFirstStep get-together, PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) had the chance to ask her about how she prepared for the most nerve-wracking part of the pageant: the Q&A.
She shared, "It's not super intense now because I've been doing it for so long.
"Now it's just polishing.
"Polishing really consists of reviewing topics because I can talk until the cows come home… I really can [laughs].
"My struggle is to get out what you have to say in thirty seconds.
"What if it's a question that needs a lot of explanation, a lot of opinions to justify it, or what if you have to balance opinions?
"I need to have an idea of what I'm going to say, and that only comes with me knowing the topic, so I have to review the topics."
The Bicolana beauty queen also gave an idea just how challenging this part of the pageant is for any candidate.
She confessed, "It's really difficult.
"People give us so much flak, but we don't even get a minute [to answer the question].
"We don't even get an 'uhm,' or 'just give me a second, I need to think about that,' so it's really difficult.
"Luck is also an aspect because the weight of the questions varies.
"You can have one girl be asked the easy question and another be asked a [difficult] question, so I’m trying to be as prepared as possible.
"You can only prepare so much because we’re not given a topic sheet.
“We don’t get anything at all so it can be anything and everything under the sun.”
With the wide range of topics involved, the Q&A training has these components: public speaking which includes vocal projection, vocal warm-ups, and breathing.
Catriona explained, “Breathing is important because sometimes you forget to breathe because you’re so nervous.
“If you have any tension in your core, I’m also a singer so it makes sense to me, you’re not going to be able to communicate smoothly.”
It is also important to learn how to vocalize properly.
According to Catriona, “It’s a big aspect, you have to project properly so you also sound confident, because the sound and quality of your voice is very important as well as what you are saying.”
The beauty queen also revealed that other aspects of the Q&A include presence of mind “to know where you are going with your answer,” and, of course, the content of your answer.
She emphasized, “When it comes to the content, you have to end strong on every answer which is hard.”
“Three is knowledge of the topic, you don’t have to know every detail, but you need to have a snap shot of it and have an opinion about it.
“You don’t want to just know and not have a stance.
“You need to have a stance and if that is polarizing, how are you going to validate the other side?”
She ends by explaining the last aspect which is body language.
"You can use gestures but “you don’t want to look distracting. It’s a performance as well as a Q&A. It is very, very difficult."
However prepared she may be for this crucial part of the pageant, Catriona also revealed how you can never fully prepare for it.
She admitted, "You can never train in that setting, in front of millions of people.
"You can train in a room full of people or an audience, but you can never prepare or practice for that moment when everyone is hanging on to what you say."
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