MANILA – Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray still could not believe that she now has four million followers on Instagram.
“That leap in followers is just… it took me so much by surprise,” she said in an interview at Build Series in New York on Wednesday (Manila time). “Because I still feel like that same girl from a year ago, I don’t feel that I’ve changed so much.”
Gray reached the one-million mark on Instagram the night before she competed in Miss Universe 2018 last December. A day later, after winning the Miss Universe title, her Instagram following doubled to 2.4 million.
On her 25th birthday last January 6, the beauty queen happily announced that she now has four million followers.
With her great Instagram reach, Gray hopes to “orientate it towards something that will educate people and create awareness,” citing her advocacy for children’s education.
“So many people are listening to what I have to say… [I want to] do something more than just show them a cute outfit or what I’m having for lunch,” she said.
“[I want to] draw people to causes they might not have known about or connect them to it in some way and somehow see themselves in that cause.”
Gray went on to talk about how her passion for helping children started.
“I found myself in a place called Tondo, Manila... It’s known as a garbage dump... and families, majority of them make a living by scavenging through the trash and finding and selling recyclables,” she said. “If you can imagine, the scenery there is quite... it really impacted me when I saw it... And if you imagine the impact on the children where they don't even have toys to play with but they find things in the trash, and some of them don't get the reality of education.”
“And maybe if they do end up in the school, they pulled out early just to help their families make ends meet,” she added. “So when I saw this, I was like, how lucky am I that I was born into a circumstance that I was able to be given an education. And these children were just born to the circumstance. It’s not fair. That’s why I’m so passionate about education.”
Gray continued: “I feel that if you give a child an education, it’s something that they can never lose, and it's also a way to break the cycle of poverty. If you give a child an education, give them a love for learning, they can have an academic career and hopefully find work that can pull their family out of that circumstance.”
Watch her interview below: