The Miss Universe Colombia organization issued an official letter "to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and her management" via Instagram Stories on November 18. It was written by the organization's president, Natalie Ackerman, and part of the statement reads:
"We also would like to express our apologies for the mistake of her last name due to some language barrier, and the announcement that she was born in Australia. The translated language that was sent for introduction is 'Born in Australia, from the Philippines who is Miss Universe 2018.' It is honestly part of the cultural differences as here in Colombia, we regard the value of unity and cross-cultural importance."
"We assure that there is no malice intended as we invited Catriona Gray in the first place because we believe in Filipinos and having a personal Dubai-based Filipino friend who is like a brother to me, I have always admired the Filipino culture and the kindness of the people from the Philippines."
She added: "I hope that Catriona Gray will not take this matter against us and can forgive us and our management. We are absolutely thrilled to visit the beautiful country of the Philippines soon. Mahal ko kayong lahat and mabuhay!"
Catriona Gray was a judge during the Miss Universe Colombia coronation night on November 17. The controversy started when she was introduced in Spanish as "Australian by birth" who "represented the Philippines" in the 2018 Miss Universe competition. Her name was also misspelled as "Catriona Garay" in the pageant's graphics. Soon after the event, Catriona posted a photo of herself on Instagram Stories with the caption "Filipina," which fans took as a response to what happened.
Catriona was crowned Miss Universe 2018 on December 17, 2018. She was born and raised in Australia to a Scottish-born Australian father and a Filipino mother from Albay. When she was 18 years old, she moved to the Philippines to live on her own and pursue a career in modeling. In a 2018 interview with Boy Abunda, Catriona said: "Even though I was born in Australia, that's not my choice. It was more of my parents' choice...I chose to come here."