On the eve of the 2018 Miss Universe beauty pageant, Miss Philippines Catriona Elisa M. Gray rallied Filipinos to pray for her success in the most prestigious beauty contest.
“Next time the sun rises, the Universe will be upon us. Less than 24 hours to go to @missuniverse! Keep sending me prayers mga kababayan!” says Gray on Instagram. “Stand with me prayer warriors.”
Gray, 24, vows to do her best in this year’s competition. “I’m really going to give my best. I just pray that the judges really get a sense of who I am because we are on stage. I believe an aspect of luck is there. If it’s your time, it’s your time. It’s someone’s fate, someone’s destiny.”
The beauty queen from Oas, Albay also said she was thrilled to receive a comment from supermodel Tyra Banks following her performance during the 2018 Miss Universe preliminary competition.
“Tutoo ba ito! And when I read, ‘Oh my God!’ It’s just wow! And when one of the Indian newspapers published your walk, this is insane,” says Gray in an exclusive interview by host MJ Marfori of TV5 in Bangkok.
Banks, host of the popular US reality show “America’s Next Top Model,” commented on Twitter: “I mean….Pinoy Power to the Max!!!”
Pageant fans also went nuts when Gray made a slow-mo twirl during the swimsuit preliminary round of the competition on Dec. 13.
Critics believe that the successor of Gray in Bb. Pilipinas pageant would have a hard time to be at par with her success in the pageant world.
“I would still be there definitely as a sister, to guide her. It will come from the girl. It will all depend on the strength of the girl, what’s her vision if there’s any,” Gray says.
Gray also reacted to the controversy involving Miss USA who mocked Asian candidates who cannot speak in English. Miss USA has apologized for her comments.
“Don’t base your judgment on one thing. It might have been taken out of context. It might have been stated in a different way. We’re in big groups. I see them together, they’re all friends. So I wouldn’t even know if there was a controversy. There was no sign whatsoever,” the Filipino-Australian beauty queen says.
If Gray enters the Top 10 in the 2018 Miss Universe pageant, this will be the 9th consecutive year that the Philippines has done it in the semis.
It was only in 2010 up to the present that Philippine candidates made it to the semis of the Miss Universe contest. These candidates are Ma. Venus Raj (2010, 4th runner-up), Shamcey Supsup (2011, 3rd runner-up), Janine Tugonon (2012, 1st runner-up), Ariella Arida (2013, 3rd runner-up), Mary Jean Lastimosa (2014, Top 10), Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (2015, Miss Universe), Maxine Medina (2016, Top 6) and Rachel Peters (2017, Top 10).
From year 2000 up to 2009, no Filipino contestant entered the semifinal round of the Miss Universe contest.
Venezuela holds the world record for most consecutive Top 10 appearances in the pageant with 21 semifinalists from 1983 up to 2003. India comes in second with 12 consecutive Top 10 finalists from 1991 to 2002.
Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete of Mexico, who beat Raj in the contest held in Las Vegas, Nevada, picked Gray as one of the 20 candidates who may win the crown in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, Dec. 17
On Instagram, Navarrete says that her Top 20 candidates are: Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Canada, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Russia, Jamaica, Lebanon, Albania, Malta, Poland, Guam, Japan, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, and Mexico.
“They are all beautiful and I give my opinion as Miss Universe 2010. I usually have a very good eye and some of the ones I put here end up winning hahaha 💋 as always, success to all and win the best!” says the former beauty queen.