Now it can be said: Catriona Gray was scared and at one point uncertain about returning to the pageant stage after the heartbreak of just nearly clinching the Miss World crown in 2016.
Fast-forward to two years later, Gray is in New York to kick off her reign as Miss Universe with a media tour that has seen her guesting on programs like “Good Morning America” and “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”
One of her stops on Monday was for a sit-down with Don Tagala of ABS-CBN North America News Bureau — her first Philippine media interview since the official start of Miss Universe duties in the Big Apple.
Gray spoke about a range of topics, including how she celebrated her 25th birthday on January 6, the warm welcome she has received in New York, the fulfillment she draws from bringing light to her advocacy through her reign, and lending her voice to other causes as an international pageant queen.
Turning introspective, Gray also talked about how she sought to embody being Miss Philippines in all aspects throughout her journey to being crowned Miss Universe. This prompted her recollection of a time when she feared joining pageants, as that meant putting herself out in public to be scrutinized and judged.
Gray, however, said she found her strength from those who believed in her, and motivation from the advocacy she wanted to bring more attention to through being a public figure.
Gray, a music theory graduate, was then asked what song encapsulate her journey as a beauty queen so far – from her loss in Miss World to her triumph in Miss Universe.
Recounting joining Binibining Pilipinas, she said: “Going into applications, ‘The Greatest Showman’ had just come out, and I know that this has become an anthem for so many people, but ‘This Is Me’ was incredibly poignant for me at that moment.
“I was scared to join again. I really was. I was scared to foray into that journey. Whenever anyone pursues that dream, there is that fear, there is that hesitance of — ‘Am I doing the right thing? Should I be here? Is this my time? Is this what I’m supposed to do?’
“The message of ‘This Is Me’ is, ‘This is everything that I am, this is what I believe in, this is my dream, I’m going to go after it no matter what anyone says.’”
Watch the full interview below: