Catriona Gray's journey from Miss World to Miss Universe

IMAGE @catriona_gray, @binibiningnicolecordoves on Instagram

Catriona Gray is the country's fourth Miss Universe. Before winning the title, the 24-year-old beauty queen joined the Miss World 2016.


The universe has found its new queen in Catriona Gray.

On her way to becoming Miss Universe 2018, Catriona took the route via Miss World 2016, her first international pageant stint.

Then 22, the Filipino-Australian model was crowned Miss World Philippines 2016 on October 2, 2016.

She joined the competition partly to increase awareness of her personal advocacy, Paraiso: The Bright Beginnings Project.

The project was a fundraising effort, which aimed to help build a preschool for the underprivileged children living in Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Manila.

READ: Fil-Australian model Catriona Gray crowned Miss World Philippines 2016

Catriona represented the Philippines in Miss World 2016 that was held in Oxon Hill, Maryland, USA.

She made it up to Top 5, and the crown went to Miss Puerto Rico Stephanie Del Valle.

READ: Puerto Rico crowned Miss World 2016; Philippines' Catriona Gray makes it to Top 5

But Catriona did not fret about her third runner-up finish.

A few days after the Miss World 2016 pageant wrapped up on December 18 at MGM National Harbor inn, Catriona revealed that the experience motivated her to do better as an individual.

"Miss World was never just a beauty contest to me," she began.

"The crown represented a journey, one that grew from being an independent endeavor to one that became more than me.

"A journey that rallied the support and love of my countrymen.

"A journey that forced me to look into myself and discover what I was made of.

"A journey that found its heart in the children in one of the poorest slums of my country.

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"Yes, the crown represented a journey...until I realized that the journey could continue and exist without it.

"I truly believe that God always knows what's best and I trust in his plan and perfect timing..."

View this post on Instagram

Hello my loving fans, supporters and friends. πŸ’“πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­ How is everyone? The question most of you are asking is if I’m okay and I can securely say that I am. πŸ™ Miss World was never just a beauty contest to me. The crown represented a journey, one that grew from being an independent endeavor to one that became more than me. A journey that rallied the support and love of my countrymen. A journey that forced me to look into myself and discover what I was made of. A journey that found its heart in the children in one of the poorest slums of my country. Yes, the crown represented a journey...until I realized that the journey could continue and exist without it. I truly believe that God always knows what’s best and I trust in his plan and perfect timing. One of the happiest moments was when the top 5 of Beauty with a Purpose was announced, meaning that MWO would visit and support the advocacies and the PHILIPPINES was called. I was a mess of emotion because being able to have the work that Young Focus in Manila is doing acknowledged was so gratifying. On my official FB page I have uploaded my BWAP video. Please share to raise awareness along with the donation information below so that we can continue fighting...not for a title but for the betterment of the lives of our countries children. πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­ So with that I want to say Maraming Salamat Po to my tireless supporters, you gave up your time and effort to vote or comment and participate in this journey. Your passion and drive has been so inspiring. Thank you to everyone who has left me comments, approached me in person since the announcement to show me their admiration and kind words and my loving family, you’ve lifted my spirits. Where will the journey take me next? That’s yet to be discovered but I am honored to have been able to represent my country on the world stage, to capture hearts all around the world and to make you all proud. Keep your torches burning. Mine is burning stronger than ever. Your Miss World Philippines, Catriona

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Catriona bequeathed her Miss World Philippines crown in September 2017.

NEXT, THE UNIVERSE

A few months after the end of her reign as Miss World Philippines, Catriona prepared herself for a "bigger journey ahead."

Β The Bicolana beauty officially joined Binibining Pilipinas on January 8, 2018.

She announced on her Instagram, "Today marks the reveal of an evolution of self that has been quietly happening away from the public's eye for a little while now.Β 

"It was in no way planned, but sometimes the stars align to make things happen."

READ: Miss World Philippines 2016 Catriona Gray joins Binibining Pilipinas 2018

Catriona entered the competition as an independent candidate.

Since then, she was among the top picks to win Binibining Pilipinas.

She did not disappoint and emerged as Miss Universe-Philippines 2018.

View this post on Instagram

Above all, thank you Jesus. Throughout all the heartbreaks and closed doors, you were there to comfort me. I lifted all my burdens up to you. At times, I thought I knew better, I was impatient - you told me to wait and to trust in you. You brought wonderful people into my life, you sent your angels to protect me. You shielded me from weapons and stones thrown by others. This achievement was made possible by you. This is all for you Lord God, I lift everything up to honor you. I love you and I trust you. To God be the Glory. πŸ™βœ¨ "WhatΒ shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?" Romans 8:31 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

A post shared by Catriona Gray (@catriona_gray) on

READ: Catriona Gray is Miss Universe-Philippines 2018

FOR THE CHILDREN

Catriona's Miss Universe campaign, which she planned with people she personally handpicked, was also her tribute to the Philippines.

From her social media posts to her national costume, evening gowns, OOTDs, and accessories, every aspect was designed to highlight the beauty of the country's culture, arts, and people.

View this post on Instagram

IBONG ADARNA πŸ§‘πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­ The Blazing Siren by @maktumang My preliminary gown was inspired by the ’Ibong Adarna’: a prominent Filipino folklore that is a mythologicalnous bird. Story goes, the Ibong Adarna’s enchanting voice can enable complete healing to anyone who hears it. Some artists liken it to the mythological Phoenix where it recurrently regenerates itself by arising amidst a spectacle of flames and candescence. This makes it a fitting symbol of resilience, rising and rebirth. πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­πŸ”₯ My earrings were designed by me and executed by @tesserajewelry as another ode to the Philippines with the Philippine sun and golden South sea pearls, our national gem. πŸ‡΅πŸ‡­ Thank you to @maktumang for his amazing craftsmanship and exquisite execution of this gown, to @justine.aliman19 and @ton_lao for styling in @bragaisjojo heels and @tesserajewelry. Thank you to mamang @hairbybrentsales and @jellyeugenio for teaching me to slay my hair and makeup! And to @carlosbuendiajr, the man behind my walk πŸŒ‹ I love you all!!!

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READ: Catriona Gray's winning moments at Miss Universe 2018

Her personal advocacy remains the same: the underprivileged children.

Before she was crowned Miss Universe 2018, Catriona's final word focused on helping these children have a better way of living.

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The 24-year-old beauty queen said, "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've always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look in the beauty in the faces of the children, and to be grateful.

"And I would 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 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."

READ: Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray to Filipinos: "I'm so happy to give you the best Christmas gift ever."

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