Catriona Gray in Dubai: Born to be a Miss Universe

It was always written in the stars for reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray. From her first ever beauty contest as a five-year-old at a Little Miss Philippines pageant in Sydney to when she was only 13 when her mother had a dream that she would one day become Miss Universe wearing a red dress, it seems it was always meant to be. But the journey to her eventual crowning as Miss Universe 2018 in December last year, wearing a red dress no less, has been one of steely determination, and a lot of sacrifices.

Born in Queensland, Australia, to a Scottish father and Filipina mother, Gray is the fourth beauty queen from the Philippines to be crowned Miss Universe. She’s also the first beauty queen from the Philippines to represent the country at both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants — she was crowned Miss World Philippines in 2016 and finished in the Top 5 in the international pageant. Not one to give up, she enlisted for Binibining Pilipinas, the organisation that sends the Philippines’ representative to the Miss Universe pageant in 2018, and went on to win that title.

Gray is primed for beauty pageantry: She’s a formally trained singer, an accomplished martial artist and painter and was already an established fashion model long before the pageant bug bit. She’s also still very grounded months into her reign, acutely aware of her status as a global icon and eternal grateful for the platform she’s earned.

Ahead of her first trip to the UAE on September 19 as part of her partnership with the Dubai-based Xpedition Magazine, the 25-year-old ‘Pride of the Philippines’ spoke exclusively to Gulf News tabloid! about how much life has changed for her, what she plans to accomplish during her reign and what she plans to do after she passes on her crown.

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