She took the Miss Universe title while representing the Philippines, but the country is just part of Catriona Gray’s story. The 25-year-old beauty queen grew up in Australia, has a Scottish father and studied in America, so is part of, as she puts it herself, a “cohesion of cultures”.
So when she was crowned Miss Universe 2018 back in December, the excitement spread further than just the Philippines. In fact, there were plenty of people in Australia, where she lived until her late teen years, trying to claim Gray as their own.
But in an interview with US television show Build Series, Gray confirmed she "really feels like Miss Philippines". Talking about whether or not it was strange to compete against Miss Australia Francesca Hung, she said: "I just feel like a Filipina, a Filipino woman, and it just so happens that when I was growing up, I was very much an Australian and I think you can be both.
“I did grow up with those two sides of the world and I just found it funny that there were people saying I was practically Miss Australia like ‘no she’s ours, she’s ours’,” she added. “But I can’t blame them for being excited.”
The moment Catriona Gray won Miss Universe 2018:
During the interview, Gray also revealed what the former Miss Universe, South African model Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, whispered to her as she handed over the coveted crown.
“She said it’s a little bit loose so be careful it doesn’t fall off,” she laughed. “It was as practical as that.”