Catriona Gray said her successor, South Africa’s Zozibini Tunzi, was “so deserving” of the Miss Universe crown.
In an interview on Wednesday with ABS-CBN, Gray said she’s known Tunzi since the Miss South Africa pageant and believes the latter will do “very well” as the new Miss Universe.
“I was actually on the judging panel in South Africa…and to see her all the way from being a candidate to being the new Miss Universe has been a very wonderful thing to watch and I know that she’ll do very well this year,” Gray said.
Gray said she wishes “nothing but the best” for Tunzi as the latter takes on the role of Miss Universe.
“She’s amazing…she’s very humble, she’s excited for the year ahead, a little bit anxious which is also very normal going into the steps of being a Miss Universe,” Gray said.
When asked what she told Tunzi when she crowned her, Gray said: “I was like, ‘Please make sure the crown feels secure,’ kasi alam ninyo (do you know) US$5 million worth yung crown niya so I was so nervous, I don’t wanna be the first one to drop it, ‘di ba? I just said to her ‘Please be careful with it’.”
“And also [I said] ‘good luck, you’re so deserving,’” she added.
Gray said this year’s Miss Universe candidates were a “great batch” of “different, accomplished, talented women” which made the competition very difficult.
“I was very proud to see that the majority of the women in the competition, let alone, especially Top 10, were very, very eloquent speakers and I thought that’s just amazing, because I really feel that’s how you get the most out of the platform of being Miss Universe,” she added.
Gray also said she talked to the country’s representative Gazini Ganados after the pageant.
“She’s in high spirits, and she’s happy with her performance, and I told her she made our country proud and she really did,” she said.