“How does one prepare to carry and raise their country’s flag on the international stage?” This was Catriona Gray’s challenge when she was preparing to compete at the Miss Universe pageant last year. As she gets ready to crown the next Miss Universe on December 9, the queen looks back on her “journey that led me to discover my own country” in a short film.
To build a strong foundation, Catriona met with local historians to understand the history and culture of the Philippines. “I spent my free time studying topics and talking to people, wanting to understand as many perspectives on local and world issues as possible to have a well-rounded view.”
For her wardrobe, she envisioned the modern Filipina look featuring our textiles. She wanted her gowns to tell such a uniquely Filipino story that she wouldn’t need a sash for people to know that she was representing the Philippines.
As for her famous lava walk, Catriona spent hours practicing different routines to create a “confident, blazing, and authentic” walk. “I trained so that my walk would become muscle memory.”
It was also important for her to use her platform to help her advocacies. “I took part in HIV awareness and testing campaigns and shared my message to different communities and campuses. I also released my first original song in partnership with Young Focus to raise awareness for the educational needs of underprivileged kids.”
“This pursuit was never about carrying my own name on a sash across my chest. It was about carrying my beloved Philippines every step of the way. I carried my nation as they carried me,” said Catriona. “The crown isn’t the greatest honor of my life. It was bringing pride to my country that remains to be my greatest honor and my crowning glory.” What. A. Queen!
Watch the short film by Jolo Luarca below:
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