MANILA – For the first time since she was crowned Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray was asked to react to the way Australia has been celebrating her pageant win.
Gray was born in Cairns, Queensland and grew up there until she moved to the Philippines in her late teens. Her father is a Scottish-born Australian, while her mother is a Filipino.
In an interview at Build Series in New York on Wednesday (Manila time), Gray was asked if it felt “weird” to be competing in Miss Universe with an Australian representative, considering her roots.
Finally setting the record straight, she said: “No, because I really feel like I’m a Miss Philippines. I feel like a Filipina, a Filipino woman. It just so happened that when I was growing up, I was very much of an Australian.”
“I just thought it was funny that there was this war, like, ‘no, she’s ours, she’s practically a Miss Australia.’ But I am a Miss Philippines,” she went on.
“But I can’t blame them for being excited, from really feeling the high spirits of the season, too. So we’ll let them have that.”
In early 2018, fresh from her crowning as Miss Universe Philippines, Gray was made to address her roots in a televised interview on “Tonight with Boy Abunda.”
“Even though I was born in Australia, that’s not my choice. It was more of my parents’ choice,” she said.
“My decision to come to the Philippines at age 18 just after I graduated high school was like a self-discovery journey for me,” she added. “[It was] my first step into figuring out – ‘Who am I? What do I want to do with my life?’ – and just putting myself out of my comfort zone.”
“I chose to come here, and I came over on my own money. I wanted to prove to myself na kaya ko ‘to. I can do this.”