Oozing with beauty, wit, and confidence, Philippine pride Catriona Gray enthralled American TV hosts during her week-long media rounds as Miss Universe 2018 in New York City.
Her first stop was on TV show “Good Morning America” on Monday. Host Ginger Zee introduced her as a “woman who is gorgeous inside and out.” It was followed by an appearance on “Live With Kelly And Ryan.”
Wearing a yellow dress, the Filipina beauty queen sat down with hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest. She was asked about her mom’s dream of her winning a pageant crown in a red dress – a dream that came true at Miss Universe competition in Thailand last December.
Catriona then visited “Celebrity Page Network.” She gamely showed host Stephen Walker how to do her iconic “slow-mo” turn at the preliminary competition of the pageant.
Stephen himself was clearly impressed with Catriona, posting the video on Instagram. He also took to Twitter after the interview and said: “A lot of #FilipinoPride in the audience today for @MissUniverse @CatrionaElisa! Maligayang bati sa inyong pagkapanalo.”
The next day, Catriona made an appearance on FOX 5’s “Good Day New York.” She proved there’s more to her than meets the eye as she openly discussed her advocacy for children’s education, yet again with the mention of her work with Young Focus Foundation in Tondo, Manila. She also shared a light moment with hosts Rosanna Scotto and Lori Stokes, talking about her new apartment and the Mikimoto crown.
Articulate and engaging that she is, the eloquent Catriona Gray answered every question thrown at her with heart and substance – a queen truly worthy of the crown as Ginger Zee stated.
Here’s an excerpt of Catriona’s answers from different interviews:
On how she celebrated her 25th birthday recently
“I saw Broadway and had a bit of a food trip. I listened to some Hill Songs. That was amazing.”
On her roots
“My mom is a Filipina, my dad is a Scottish immigrant to Australia. So I was born and raised in Australia then I moved to the Philippines as a teenager.”
On her boyfriend of six years
“You know what, I just wanna focus on my year ahead. Thankfully, he was very understanding.”
On Filipino fans
“The Filipino fans are the best fans in the world. This whole journey has been amazing with them.”
“When I was 12, I was 5’8 feet tall. I was so awkward. I used to be good in sports, when I became 12 that just went out of the window.”
On her talent in singing
“I would love to participate in a benefit concert to really merge my love for music and passion for giving back.”
On how she’s adjusting to winter in New York
“Well, I have a coat and I’m going out at least having three layers of it. I’m looking like a bit of siopao, I’m really fluffy-looking but as long as I’m warm, I’m good.”
On her new apartment
“My new apartment is so amazing. I can look by the kitchen and see Central Park. So I feel like I’m in the movies.”
On her first day as Miss Universe
“This (media tour) is my first duty as first Miss Universe so it’s kinda surreal for me. Right after the pageant in Bangkok, Thailand, I went back to the Philippines, did small charities there and then hid for Christmas and New Year (laughs).”
On her mom’s dream
“She did dream of me becoming a Miss Universe. When I was about 13 years old, and then she said: ‘Honey, I had a dream that you won Miss Universe in a red dress.’ And I was like, ‘Okay mom.’”
On pursuing Miss Universe because of that dream
“Not at all. I’m a very strong-headed person and I like to explore what I want to do so I’m always thankful that my parents are supportive. But yeah, I never dreamt of being a beauty queen but here I am.”
On her advocacy
“I really believe education is transformative. It’s something you can give to a child or to a person that can never be taken away from them, which is why I’m so passionate about it.
On pageantry as platform for good causes
“I never realized what the platform pageantry has. At first, when I was younger, I just saw it as a show, as sparkly dresses. It wasn’t until I was seeing how Filipino people especially see beauty queens… They really do have a voice in the community, and I think that really expanded with the help of social media to countries across the world.
“Knowing that it has a platform – I was actually just volunteering at charities at the time – that’s when I saw that, ‘Wow, how further could I push or how further could I reach for my causes if I could use pageantry.’”
On Young Focus and its importance to the community
“I never experienced poverty first hand. It’s really different seeing it, sensing it with all of your senses rather than through a screen or a TV. So when I was in Manila, there’s a certain area called Tondo, it’s actually known as a garbage dump. And most of the families them are making a life out of scavenging trash.
“The children there, they are pulled out of school early to help make ends meet to the family or they never go to school. So that’s why I’m so passionate about education.”
“I work with the organization called Young Focus Philippines and they work to give quality access to education from impoverished area. So this kid, without an NGO like that might not ever experience going to school, experiencing or developing a love for learning which at the end of the day, that’s really can pull of a family out of poverty. So that’s something I’m very passionate about.”
“I always believe that education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty.”