MANILA – Catriona Gray was visibly saddened when she was asked about her thoughts over what happened to Vickie Rushton during the Binibining Pilipinas coronation night last Sunday.
Leading up to finals night, Rushton was widely tipped to take home the coveted Miss Universe-Philippines crown, at least among pageant pundits.
The former "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate appeared on track to fulfilling forecasts and online poll results, as she raked in a total of six special awards.
However, she fell short of winning a crown even just as a runner-up because of her performance at the crucial question-and-answer portion, at least according to some dismayed fans.
During the Q&A portion, Rushton initially managed a coherent response to judge Daniel Padilla's question about why mental health is as important as physical health, but then trailed off without finishing her final sentence. Cut off by the 30-second timer, a visibly disappointed Rushton returned to her spot on stage.
Despite this, Gray still thinks Rushton was amazing throughout the competition.
“It’s really unfortunate. I was really rooting for her because I am close with her. She is my first runner-up from my batch. I think she did amazingly even though the thing in Q&A happened,” she told reporters in an interview on Friday.
“You know it happens. It’s a 'grace under pressure' environment. It’s a completely high nerve environment. If it’s your time, it’s your time. Who knows, she might make a comeback? I would totally root for her if she’s planning to join again,” she added.
On or off the pageant stage, Gray appears to be a natural in giving quick yet intelligent answers to tricky questions.
When asked if there’s any advice she could give to other beauty queens with regard to this, Gray said there’s actually “no formula that you can apply to every single girl.”
“Honestly, the girl needs to be driven and see where her weaknesses are and build upon that,” she said. “It’s really a unique thing. Every girl is different. Everyone has different strengths. It’s really the girl needs to assess where she’s lacking and build upon that.”