The winner of 2018's Miss Universe has thanked the Philippines for its support in her closing speech, which she gave before handing the 2019 Miss Universe crown over to South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi.
As she walked on stage, she thanked her “beloved Philippines”, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino for her final remarks. Gray told her compatriots that they “endlessly inspire her” and it was an “honour” to represent them.
Catriona Gray’s passionate speech in full:
“I've always believed that as women we have the power to redefine our generation. When we raise our voices together, the words 'woman power' become more than just a phrase. They become a movement.
“I wanted my year to be a reign with purpose, from advocating for quality education for all to raising awareness to HIV and AIDS. I've started to use my voice for good. Thank you to mum and dad for always believing in me. Paula and Ester for your mentorship, the Miss Universe Organisation and Team Catriona, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
“And to my beloved Philippines, isang karangalan po ito [it is an honour]. You endlessly inspire me and give me hope. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat [Thank you all]. Above all, thank you God. I lift everything to glorify and honour you. As I close this chapter, I do so with a grateful heart.
“To everyone with a dream, know that your dreams are valid. And on your path you are never denied, only redirected.”
A gown that reflects the 'steadfast spirit' of the Philippines
For the ceremony, she wore a gown by Filipino designer Mak Tumang, who also crafted her 2018 winning gown. Ahead of the show, Tumang shared a closer look at her gown, which he has called 'Reflection on Instagram.
“The creation's inspiration stems from the vision of the Philippine Eagle flying over the flawless turquoise seas embracing our archipelago. Despite its mighty ability to soar up high far beyond the clouds, it could still manage to look down until the point of reflecting itself on the shiny waters. This display of both might and humility is the call each of us heeds,” Tumang wrote.
“As a nation, we are to have a steadfast spirit yet we also take a moment to journey within ourselves. By doing so, we could be able to mirror the beauty that is within us, to mirror what is true and just and to mirror the light which illuminates our path. Silay; to mirror, Pagbubulay; to introspect – the Filipino nation's moment of reflection!”