It's a major feat to win the title of Miss Universe. The responsibilities tied to it are just as big — from becoming the face of women empowerment to trying to advance global advocacies. In the 67th year of the pageant, beautiful, smart and empowered women from 94 countries and territories competed for the crown. But in the end, it was Catriona Gray from the Philippines who was named the victor.
But who is this new queen and what goes beyond her signature slow-mo turn, her blazing red dress a la Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, and the answers that earned her the crown? Ahead, get to know Miss Universe 2018 with these fun facts.
She's no newbie to pageants
She joined her first ever pageant at the age of five in Little Miss Philippines. She was also a Miss World contender in 2016 in which she lost the crown, a verdict dubbed an injustice by fans. Looking back, it's safe to say her story of defeat helped her rise from the ashes and earn her place in a bigger arena. Another interesting anecdote about her pageant history is that at the age of 13, her mother Normita Magnayon claimed to have dreamt that Catriona won Miss Universe in a red dress.
She has a master's certificate in Music Theory
Filipinos are known for their love of music and Catriona is no different. The 24-year-old Filipina-Scottish model and creative took her love for the craft one step further by working for a master's certificate in Music Theory from Berklee College of Music in Boston. But that's not all! Using her talent in singing and songwriting, she recently released a single titled "We're In This Together" to raise awareness towards her advocacy of child support and education.
She's a multi-faceted artist
Aside from her talent in the visual arts, Catriona is also quite the athlete. She earned her black belt in Choi-Kwang Do when she was 12.
She went 'independent' to embrace more of her creativity
The Philippines is globally known for having some of the best and most competitive pageant camps that even foreign contenders choose to get their training done in the country. However, after her unfortunate loss at Miss World in 2016, Catriona opted to go independent to have more freedom and authority over her self-representation in pageants, especially in her choice of outfits. Another fun fact: Catriona designed the earrings she wore for the Binibining Pilipinas pageant and Miss Universe 2018.
All her Miss Universe looks tell a story about the Philippines
Being a long-time muse of fashion designer Mak Tumang, the two immediately decided to create more symbolic outfits after her Binibining Pilipinas win. From her Ibong Adarna dress, inspired by a mythical bird from Filipino folklore, worn in the preliminary evening gown presentation to the blazing Mayon Volcano evening dress that paid homage to the natural beauty found in her province of Bicol, we can say that her outfits are not only gorgeous but also well thought out. Even her national costume in the pageant held a number of historical and cultural references.