MANILA — Like many showbiz fans, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray sees pageant-queen potential in actress Liza Soberano, whom she said would be a “wonderful” representative of the Philippines in an international competition.
But even so, Gray brought up an important aspect of any aspiring queen’s bid: her willingness and passion.
Gray mentioned Soberano after her contract-signing with ABS-CBN Books on Thursday, just days after she crowned her successor, Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa, in Atlanta.
Gray was asked if she considers any Filipino celebrity as worthy of becoming the Philippines’ next Miss Universe representative.
“Everyone’s always wanted Liza to join, ‘di ba? She’s very, very beautiful. I feel like she would be wonderful,” she began.
“But I really feel that it needs to be the girl who wants to do it. Even if you have so many people saying, ‘Yes, this is for you! This is your path!’ unless you feel it… It needs to be your own passion, it needs to be your own will,” Gray added.
For years, Soberano has gotten encouragement left and right to join the national pageant, and has even become a favorite among pageant enthusiasts as a wishlist candidate.
In 2017, she even portrayed Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach in a “Maalaala Mo Kaya” episode. Wurtzbach had earlier named Soberano as her own bet in the international competition.
But, despite being urged similarly by her father, and her onscreen and real-life partner Enrique Gil, Soberano has been clear about her stance on pageantry.
“I really want to focus on my acting career, because it’s my dream. When it comes to Miss Universe, I don’t think I will able to handle all the pressure,” she said in a 2017 interview, adding that she is not closing her doors.