Celebrating 25 Things We Love About Queen Catriona Gray As She Turned 25
She is not just the newly crowned Miss Universe anymore. She has now become an international superstar loved and adored by the world for her grace, her eloquence, and her beauty inside and out.
As Catriona Gray turned 25 last January 6, we celebrate 25 things we love about her—from her huge and loving heart that knows how to share and give to the less fortunate, to her musical talent and love for the country.
1. Her Lava Walk
The internet broke when Catriona debuted her "lava walk" to the world at the Miss Universe swimsuit competition. It was fresh, it was new, it was something that made sure the world would notice her—and boy we did! From the countless memes and videos that tried to recreate the walk, to the shoutout from the Tyra Banks herself, saying that the walk was “next level fierce”—it was, indeed, Tyty-approved.
2. Her inspiring modeling career
Before becoming Miss Universe, Catriona was a full-on professional model. She started modeling very early on, with her very first covers in teen magazines and beauty editorials dating back to when she was just 12 years old.
In September last year, she also fulfilled one of her biggest model dreams by walking down the New York Fashion Week catwalk for Sherri Hill.
READ: Miss Universe-Philippines 2018 Catriona Gray To Make Her New York Fashion Week Debut—Who Is Sherri Hill, The Fashion Designer Who Invited Her?
My first NYFW ???? When I got the call back in Manila I was incredulous, to be flown to NYC to work with @sherrihill - I couldn't believe it, ako ba? Bakit ako? ?? Thank you @sherrihill for the amazing opportunity and for seeing something in me! ????????? And thank you everyone back home who stayed up to 5am to support! Mahal ko kayo sobraaaa ?? #CatrionaForSherriHill
3. Her love for the Philippines
At age 18, that’s when Catriona decided to move back to the Philippines to pursue her modeling career. In fact, she used her savings from modeling in Australia to move back to the Philippines.
4. Her TV appearances before being a beauty queen
Ever since she started her modeling stint in the country, she has landed many TVCs and print editorials. Here is a collection of some of her TVCs—from playing a partner to Xian Lim to her very own junk food commercial. Were you able to watch any of these before?
5. Her amazing singing voice
Catriona loved singing ever since she was young, and grew up listening to cassette tapes of Lea Salonga’s voice in "Miss Saigon," a musical that she and her dad loved. Eventually, she starred in a local production of "Miss Saigon" in Australia and went on to finish an online course in Music Theory, Ear Training, and Harmony from the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She also plays the guitar.
READ: Catriona Gray Does A Throwback On Her Wonder Years, Singing Career, And Pageant Preps
6. Her covers!
Catriona actually has a Soundcloud page where you can listen to her covers from Lady Gaga songs to Christina Perri’s "Jar of Hearts!" Check it out here.
7. Her first gigs
Apart from modeling professionally, she made singing a profession, too. One of her very first gigs in the Philippines was in Saguijo, a bar in Makati known for its gig nights. She also sang for Bench Universe, where she had to perform in front of 25,000 people in a bikini.
8. Her debut single that was for a cause
"We're In This Together" is a music video sung and starred in by Catriona Gray, released in November for the benefit of her advocacy group, Young Focus. The song was written by Marcus Davis and topped Spotify Philippines' Viral Top 50 after Catriona’s Miss Universe win.
Rewatch the music video below!
READ: Catriona Gray's "We're In This Together" Music Video Has Reached More Than 100,000 Views On YouTube
9. Her philanthropic efforts
And speaking of her advocacies, Catriona supports a number of advocacy groups. Two of her major advocacy groups are Love Yourself PH and Young Focus International.
Love Yourself PH is an HIV/AIDS advocacy group that aims to educate people about the illness and encourage more people to get tested and remove the stigma surrounding those who contract it. Young Focus, to whom Catriona’s single was dedicated to, is a local organization that looks to improve the mental, physical, and social well-being of young people in poor communities by means of education, health care, and personal support. Her dedication and commitment to the NGO has also been the central message in her final Miss Universe Q&A portion answer.
Thank you to all the individuals who contributed to allowing @youngfocusph to give out 1000 Christmas Food Buckets to the families of Tondo, Manila just in time for Christmas. ???? To keep the gift of giving going, you can donate to the link below to allow children to experience education for the year of 2019! ?? Donate to @youngfocusph here: https://www.youngfocus.org #WereInThisTogether Photo from the @youngfocusph @missuniverse viewing party @marxters ?
10. Her own charity project
Catriona also started her own charity project called “Paraiso: The Bright Beginnings Project,” which aims to raise funds for a pre-school in Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila. Some of her fundraising projects for the cause includes benefit concerts, auctioning off original artworks, and creating social media movements.
To know more about the project and to contribute, visit cat-elle.com/paraiso.
11. Her being an artist
Catriona actually auctioned off some of her own artworks as well for the Paraiso project. Yes, you heard that right, Catriona can paint, too!
Hey beautiful people ? I'm putting some of my loved artworks for display and sale with the proceeds going towards #ParaisoBrightBeginningsProject ?? at Sede, 46 East Capitol Drive Pasig. Do drop by and take a look! ?? Will also be partnering up with SEDE for an upcoming charity event so keep posted for the details!! ??
12. Her collaborations with designers
Catriona’s creativity has indeed spilled over to her pageantry efforts. Did you know that Catriona, in fact, collaborated with Kapampangan designer Mak Tumang for the gowns she wore to the Miss Universe? She also collaborated and was very hands-on with Tessera Jewelry in crafting the iconic Three Stars and the Sun Earcuff that captivated the world.
READ: EXCLUSIVE: You Too Can Get Your Hands On Catriona Gray's Iconic Ear Cuff—Here's How!
Let us all take a look on the day where @catriona_gray first wore the iconic Three Stars and the Sun Earcuff ???????? Everyone went crazy and was moved by her creative design. Now, it is our time once again to show our love and support to her by wearing the Three Stars and The Sun Earcuff on Dec. 17 as Queen Catriona Gray competes for the Ms. Universe crown. We love you Catriona! Your Tessera family is rooting for you ?????? . #CatrionaGray #TesseraJewelry #ThreeStarsAndTheSun #MissUniverse #Philippines
IBONG ADARNA ?????? The Blazing Siren by @maktumang My preliminary gown was inspired by the 'Ibong Adarna': a prominent Filipino folklore that is a mythologicalnous bird. Story goes, the Ibong Adarna's enchanting voice can enable complete healing to anyone who hears it. Some artists liken it to the mythological Phoenix where it recurrently regenerates itself by arising amidst a spectacle of flames and candescence. This makes it a fitting symbol of resilience, rising and rebirth. ?????? My earrings were designed by me and executed by @tesserajewelry as another ode to the Philippines with the Philippine sun and golden South sea pearls, our national gem. ???? Thank you to @maktumang for his amazing craftsmanship and exquisite execution of this gown, to @justine.aliman19 and @ton_lao for styling in @bragaisjojo heels and @tesserajewelry. Thank you to mamang @hairbybrentsales and @jellyeugenio for teaching me to slay my hair and makeup! And to @carlosbuendiajr, the man behind my walk ?? I love you all!!!
READ: Catriona Gray's Gown To The Miss Universe Finals Was Inspired By This Philippine Volcano!
13. Her championing local textiles
Throughout the competition and until today, as she fulfills her duties as Miss Universe, Catriona continues to champion local textiles and fabrics through the clothes that she wears to her events.
READ: EXCLUSIVE: Designer Mak Tumang Shares How Intricately Created Catriona Gray's Ibong Adarna-Inspired Dress Was!
LUZVIMINDA: "Magdiwang. Lumaban. Pagyamanin." ????? LUZON-- MAGDIWANG" (Celebrate): The island group of LUZON is represented by the world-renowned "PAROL/CHRISTMAS LANTERN" from the province of Pampanga with a BRASS BORDER designed and made in Apalit, Pampanga (inspired by designs from the Philippine Baroque Churches that were declared as UNESCO Heritage Sites) At the back of the PAROL is a PAINTING with INSCRIPTION of the lyrics from "LUPANG HINIRANG", the Philippines’ National Anthem written in Baybayin (Ancient Filipino Alphabet) that literally translates to: "Lupang hinirang, Duyan ka ng magiting, Sa manlulupig Di ka pasisiil. Sa dagat at bundok, Sa simoy at sa langit mong bughaw." The PAINTING also highlighted victories, festivals, events, heroes and national icons with a style inspired by the works of Philippine National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco, a native of the Art Capital of the Philippines, Angono, Rizal in Luzon. VISAYAS--LUMABAN" (Fight): The island group of VISAYAS is represented by a body suit with authentic "tattoo designs" embellished with crystals derived from patterns used by the "PINTADOS" who are indigenous peoples found in various islands in this part of the Philippines. The tattoo patterns are authentic and based from the manusript "BOXER CODEX" written in 1590. The tattoos represent an individual’s journey and a public testimony recounting acts of combat, bravery, and strength, that perfectly represents the courageous and resilient Filipino spirit amidst trials we face in this day and age. MINDANAO-- “PAGYAMANIN" (Enrich): The island group of MINDANAO is represented by an authentic "HEADPIECE & BRASS ACCESSORIES" from the province of South Cotabato and customized KNEE-HIGH BOOTS with embroidered designs inspired by different indigenous textile patterns from the southern part of the Philippines, namely: Inaul, Yakan, Maranao, B'laan, Bagobo, Tausug and T'nalak. The woven textiles express a strong belief in "ancestral and natural spirits" and "cultural roots" of indigenous communities that remain well-preserved up to this day. Pilipinas, para sa iyo ang lahat ng ito. ???? @missuniverse ?? @benjaminaskinas
Apart from her explosive Luzviminda outfit, which she wore to the National Costume competition, Catriona has been seen donning a modern Filipinana top and ifugao skirt, a hand-embellished denim skirt by the Tagakaolo tribe, and a handmade burda callado Pinya silk top from Laguna, to a name a few.
Another one of my favourite outfits in my @missuniverse wardrobe from @jearsond in handmade burda callado Pinya silk top of LUMBAN LAGUNA, T'nalak belt and hand painted sampaguita skirt by Jeffrey Catuira ?????? Styled by @justine.aliman19 wearing @jearsond @bragaisjojo @callihandbags ?
14. Her choice to represent the Philippines
All of these patriotism and love for the country comes amazingly from Catriona, taking into account that she was born and raised in Australia. But it looks like her Filipino roots run deep in her since during her very first pageant in Sydney in 1999, when she was just a little kid, she decided to compete as Little Miss Philippines.
Off to Thailand to represent my beautiful country the Philippines in @missuniverse ????????????? Philippines, mahal kita. I hope to make you proud. @justine.aliman19 @jellyeugenio @hairbybrentsales @carlosbuendiajr @bragaisjojo @jololuarca @memayfrancisco @mimsqiu @jearsond @maktumang @ton_lao @harleybarleyyy @binibiningnicolecordoves @mackycombe @styledbypatrickhenry
15. Her reason for joining Miss World
Catriona is indeed the epitome of beauty and brains. But she did not see her beauty nor her brains as her ace in the various beauty pageants she has won. In fact, she reveals that one of the biggest reasons why she got back into the pageantry circuit and joined Miss World in 2016 was for her advocacy group, Young Focus. She saw how her best friend Miss World Philippines 2014 Valerie Weigmann was able to raise funds for charity by being a beauty queen, and thought she could do the same for Young Focus, as well.
16. Her being a one-of-a-kind beauty queen
Although Catriona failed to grab the Miss World title and only finished 5th place, she is the very first Filipina to represent the country in both the Miss World and Miss Universe competitions. Apart from finishing 5th place at the Miss World 2016, she also bagged the Multimedia Award and 2nd place in Talent Award.
17. Her pleasing personality and friendliness
Catriona’s friendliness has also taken the spotlight during the Miss Universe competition, and she made tons of friends who were very happy for her when she won the crown. We’re especially loving her friendship with two of her closest co-beauty queens, Miss Universe Sweden Emma Strandberg and Miss Denmark Helena Heuser.
Happy birthday my love ?? I wish you’ll have the best day ever and that New York is treating you well on this special day. Miss our laughter and this crazy trio of our inner old ladies: Susan, Margret and Britta! Cant wait to see you and visit you in the ”big apple”. Happiest birthday our sweet, beautiful kit Cat??
18. Her rich heritage and roots
Catriona comes from rich heritage and roots, born and raised in Cairns, Queensland to Filipino and Australian parents. Her father, Ian Gray, is a Scottish-born Australian, while her mother, Normita Ragas Magnayon, is a Filipina from Oas, Albay.
But even as an only daughter, Catriona admits that she was not raised to get everything that she wanted. Instead of receiving material things, she was enrolled by her mother to many extra-curricular activities.
READ: The Reactions Of Catriona Gray's Family To Her Coronation Are The Best Things You'll See Today
19. Her love for her parents
Catriona’s love for her parents really shines through in the way she honors and looks up to them. After her Miss Universe win, Catriona shares that when she was 13 years old, her mother dreamt that she won the Miss Universe in a red dress—which eventually came true. It was, for her, more than a fulfilment of her dreams, a fulfilment of her mother’s.
The two reasons that I am who I am today. ?? My mum and dad have believed in me and my potential since I was a little girl. My daddy taught me to be tough, gutsy and give power to my words. My mum taught me to always trust my intuition and hold a firery soul in a soft heart. Thank you for continuously guiding me. I love you both beyond words. ? @missuniverse #MissUniverse
She also shares in a previous interview with Metro.Style that one of the people she admires most is her dad. Catriona says, “I’ve seen him overcome so many things. I’ve seen him put himself in situations that are not nice just to provide for us as a family. He’s always so wise and no matter what challenge or difficult we go through, he has this amazing mindset that he can be everything.”
READ: EXCLUSIVE: Everything About Catriona Gray Makes Us Believe She Is The Next Miss Universe
20. Her being an ideal girlfriend
Catriona has also been blessed to have a beautiful six-year-long relationship with his Fil-German boyfriend, Clint Bondad. According to Catriona, they’ve been with each other so long that they’ve both matured together and continue to push and inspire each other to succeed.
Clint also revealed on their sixth anniversary that this special occasion actually coincides with the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day.
The day we celebrated 6 years ?? Funny we never realised that our anniversary was on the Independence Day of the ???? Ironically however is that we instead lost our independence... but won an amazing journey together that I personally wouldn't exchange for anything. @catriona_gray you have given me an amazing 6 years. You supported me literally in my weakest moments but also kept me from becoming a complete idiot. You are the woman that a kind of man like me needs. Strong, viciously intelligent and not afraid to speak up. First picture by @dookieducay thanks!
21. Her being a black-belter
She may not have been very sporty or coordinated when she was young, but Catriona's being awkward and tall during her teen years didn’t stop her from becoming a strong and independent woman. This is why when her parents encouraged her to take self-defense when she was eight, she quickly loved and got the hang of it and got her black belt in Choi Kwang-Do at age 12.
Catriona tells ABS-CBN Lifestyle that doing martial arts when she was young taught her discipline, common sense, and made her more aware of her surroundings.
22. Her love for traveling
USA, England, Australia, France, Thailand, Vietnam, and China—the list is only about to get bigger and longer as Catriona carries out her Miss Universe duties, which is a dream-come-true for the beauty queen who loves to travel! Inside the Philippines, some of her favorite places to go to are Palawan and Bohol.
23. Her adventures documented on her blog
And where can you catch up on Catriona’s travel adventures? On her blog, of course! The queen also has a blog where she publishes her travels, her advocacies, and many of her editorials. Check out her travels inside and outside the country and her takes on healthy food at cat-elle.com.
24. Loves milktea
And just like the normal Filipina, Cat also has her own guilty pleasures. One of her favorite sugary drinks is milk tea, and shares that her favorite milk tea stores are Coco and Serenitea. Her usual drink: roasted milk tea in the biggest size, with double pearl and nata de coco.
25. Her being a self-confessed bookworm
Catriona also is quite the bookworm and has an affinity for reading fiction books. Nowadays, however, she tends to just listen to audiobooks instead because she says she gets dizzy when she reads in traffic.
I have also come to understand that although some people are naturally happier than others, their happiness is still vulnerable and incomplete, and that achieving durable happiness as a way of being is a skill. It requires sustained effort in training the mind and developing a set of human qualities, such as inner peace, mindfulness, and altruistic love. - an excerpt from my current read. ??
Photos from @catriona_gray