Catriona, who won the Philippines’ fourth Miss Universe crown in Bangkok on Monday, is going to participate in a charity mission with previous winners Pia Wurtzbach, Demi Leigh-Peters, and Iris Mittenaere.
Gray ’s boyfriend Clint Bondad says that nobody else deserves the crown more than the beauty queen herself. Bondad, who has been dating Gray for the past five years, admits: Of course they will say that [all candidates] worked hard for it, but I’ll just shout on the top of my lungs and say, ‘She worked the hardest.’
READ: Catriona Gray’s fearless forecast
Bondad took to social media to wax sentimental. ‘Since the very day I met you in Baguio in that tiny elevator when we merely were just kids, I knew that you are different. You felt untouchable. Like I met someone specific but couldn’t figure out who it was.’
‘Never met a more intelligent woman in my life. You seem to capture the stars and are simply a creator by heart. You are a specialist made to move the world. A rocket breaking through the atmosphere bringing back a piece of heaven. Words will never be enough to capture who you are... I know this is a huge day but this will literally just be the beginning.’
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos on Tuesday hailed Gray for bagging the Miss Universe crown with her beauty, intelligence and strong advocacy for the protection of children’s rights.
“Keri lang maging iba sa lahat! Among silver gowns and silver linings, panalo ang pula! Standout ka talaga, Cat! Congratulations!” Marcos said.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, principal author of the bill legalizing marijuana for medical use, on Tuesday welcomed Gray’s stand on his proposal.
“She may not have directly endorsed the measure, but Miss Gray made many patients suffering from pain and other medical conditions happy, there are thousands of them,” Albano said.
Gray, the 24-year-old model, and singer made headlines with her win. Even the Australian media ran the story and congratulated Catriona for not just carrying the Philippine flag but also for being proud of her Aussie roots.
One of the articles published by the Australian press says the Australians also have reason to celebrate, calling the five-foot-ten beauty an “Australian who won Miss Universe but she’s not Miss Australia.”
Before moving to Manila in 2011, Catriona lived with her Australian-Scottish father Ian Gray and Filipino mother Normita Magnayon in the North Queensland town of Cairns. After graduating from the local Trinity Anglican School, Catriona bought herself a ticket from Cairns to Manila to begin her modeling career.
Catriona’s fans and supporters were kept updated on her Miss Universe journey, including the people who helped her design her national costume, the gowns she wore during the preliminaries and finals, the creative people who worked on her videos, and the person who trained her to achieve the now iconic slow-mo twirl during the swimsuit competition.
In a photo posted by Jonas Gaffud, Catriona’s mentor when she joined the Miss World 2016 contest and the same trainer that helped Pia Wurtzbach prepare for the Miss Universe pageant in 2015, the beauty queen maker introduced the team that tirelessly worked behind the successful bid for the crown.
READ: It’s ‘all or nothing’ for Catriona Gray
The team, whose members were handpicked by Catriona herself, include designers Mak Tumang and Jojo Bragais, mentor Carlos Buendia Jr., casting director Harley Tan and stylists Ton Lao and Brent Sales.
Catriona regularly campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness, documenting her own HIV test on Instagram.
She is in a relationship with 24-year-old Filipino-German model Clint Bondad and an ambassador for global technology brand.
Catriona is known for her artistic and singing skills, earning a certificate in Music Theory from the Berklee College of Music, the same music school where international music stars John Mayer and Charlie Puth went to.
Before her departure for Bangkok to prepare for the final, Catriona released a music video titled “We’re in This Together,” an anthem highlighting the plight of poverty-stricken children in the slums of Tondo, Manila.
The song shot straight to number one in the Philippines iTunes chart. With Maricel V. Cruz
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