Meet the team that helped Catriona Gray win Miss Universe crown

IMAGE @catrionagray/@bragaisjojo on Instagram

It takes a village, and Catriona Gray has the all-out support of her team in achieving her Miss Universe dream.

Philippines finally got its fourth Miss Universe crown after the win of Bicolana beauty Catriona Gray.

As part of her nine-month preparation for the prestigious beauty pageant, the 24-year-old model opted to form her own team.

During her bid for the Miss World 2016 title, Catriona trained under the guidance of Jonas Gaffud of Aces and Queens, which also handled Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach.

When Catriona joined Binibining Pilipinas, she signed up as an independent candidate.

In her previous interview, Catriona said creating her team was by far the “best decision” she has ever made.

"I mean instead of having to focus on multiple girls, I got undivided focus from a team of people that I chose myself, so I was allowed to be as creative and in that way I can surround myself with the core team.”

Meet these people:

Joining Catriona in the photo below are Carlos Buendia Jr., Justine Aliman, Ardel Presentacion, Jolo Luarco, and Jojo Bragais.

Carlos Buendia Jr., the pasarela trainer

An architect by profession, Carlos or fondly called Caloy, trained Catriona in perfectly executing the now-iconic "lava walk."

He was also credited for Catriona's "slow mo" turn, which ignited hundreds of reactions on social media when she did it during the swimsuit category of the preliminaries. 

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STARS.. A true story ✨✨✨ December 19, 2016. I felt so low after a very heartbreaking loss. I have so many questions in my head and I desperately needed answers. I went to Baclaran Church and asked God "WHY" in tears because I felt very sad for a gifted young woman who didn’t get what she wanted. Maybe the "stars" are just not aligned for her. Obviously, I didn’t get an answer from God so I decided to go home instead. But as soon as I stepped out of the church, I saw a sky full of STARS ...... then I whispered to myself ...... "UNIVERSE !!!!!!" The rest is history. Mahal na mahal ka namin @catriona_gray ❤️🇵🇭✨ Bring with you the weight of the triumphs, tragedies and most of all, the greatness of the Filipino people. 🇵🇭 Mabuhay ka! #TRUESTORY #missuniverse #missuniverse2018

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Mak Tumang, the evening gown designer

The Kapampangan celebrity designer created Catriona’s stand-out Ibong Adarna-inspired body-fitting gown during the preliminaries and the sultry Mayon-inspired gown for the Miss Universe finals.

In an Instagram post last March, Mak wrote, “When a client about to conquer the world (or the universe, rather) trusted you with all her heart to create 'her armor' for her victory, this is priceless.


“When I handed Catriona her gown after giving me free rein to create that one masterpiece for her, I got teary eyed after she said her heartwarming thanks- well, it is my own version of 'crowning moment.'

“This job is my crown and my sash. This job is my title. This is me at my best, this is me winning!”

Jearson Demamivas, the national costume designer

Designing 10 dresses was no easy feat, but Jearson did just that for our Philippine bet’s daily wardrobe.

He was also the man behind Catriona’s enormous parol-inspired costume that took the Internet by storm.

Jojo Bragais, the shoemaker

Jojo considers Catriona as a family member for whom he would give his all-out support.

In an Instagram post, he wrote, “The reason why I love this group coz we are friends na for a long time.

“And our travel to research and to film is not work but vacation.

“Thats what you do for friends right, you support them till the end.”

He did Cat’s detailed shoes for her national costume.

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This trip to South Cotabato is one of the most memorable travels ever! I conquered my fear of heights by tryin the tallest and longest zip line in Southeast Asia! Thank you @catriona_gray for pushing me always! Well this one is the craziest among them all but the most memorable! I will never overcome my fears if I wont face em right? I cant wait to upload the vlog and show you guys how scared I was and how stupid my reactions are but I am proud of myself that I did it! I suddenly miss Col. Nolasco, I finally did it! Not in Hannahs but the next time I will be there, Will do zip lining in your honor. I know your watching up there sa heaven. Special shout out to @jololuarca and @justine.aliman19 for the support! Love you guys!

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Justine Aliman, the stylist

Aside from the newly crowned Miss Universe, Justine also styles Toni Gonzaga, Sharon Cuneta, Zsa Zsa Padilla, among many others.

She works with Ton Lao.

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Brent Sales, the hairstylist

Brent has been doing iconic celebrity looks for 18 years.

Among Brent's wide clientele are Charo Santos, Bea Alonzo, Sarah Geronimo, Liza Soberano, and Jinkee Pacquiao.

Jelly Eugenio, the makeup artist

In Jojo’s vlog "Catriona Gray’s Trainers Revealed!!!," Jelly said, “Si Catriona kasi she’s been a model for the longest time, so marunong na din talaga siya mag-makeup.


“It’s more of enhancement of what she has learned already.”

Among Jelly’s clients are Vice Ganda, Georgina Wilson, Isabelle Daza, and Nadine Lustre.

Nicole Cordoves, the question-and-answer and public speaking trainer

The former Binibining Pilipinas Grand International said she gave Catriona the pros and cons of joining Miss Universe.

“Alam ko kasi yung mga pinagdaanan naming mga beauty queens na you know what, it’s not easy.

“Any person can go up to you and say na, ‘Uy, join ka,’ pero hindi nila alam yung sacrifice na kailangan mong gawin to join that pageant.

“It takes a lot from the girl, and the girls have to really want it.”

Also on Team Gray are Ardel Presentacion, Jojo Luarco, and Harley Tan.


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