A 'Cat' who wants to be a voice for others

Marie Lozano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2019 04:32 AM

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray waves to fans during her visit in ABS-CBN Corp. in Quezon City on Friday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is showing no signs of slowing down even with the hectic schedule of her homecoming. 

From Thursday’s 4-hour parade, she was still full of energy for her ABS-CBN homecoming on Friday. 

In her interview, Gray admitted that behind her smile was a longing for the kids in her Young Focus charity in Tondo, Manila. 

The beauty queen teared up during a surprise video message shown to her in one of her show guestings. 

“I had a guesting earlier and they had a video message from the children that I worked with in Youth Focus and I cried. It made me so emotional. I haven’t seen them yet but I will have a charity day with them. It just made me cry hearing the messages from them,” she shared.

The Fil-Australian beauty is passionate about her advocacy on children, and firmly believes there are more options to be offered rather than simply lowering the age of criminal responsibility. 

She stressed, “There’s still so much that we need to do for our country’s children especially in this period. They are very much victims of their environment you know? And children they’re not supposed to be acting out that way so we have to ask ourselves why they’re in the situations where they commit crimes or do that. 

"It has to be something that we can address with more focus rather than putting in laws that might put them in rehabilitation center or labelling them as a children in conflict with the law because even if it is a nicer label than a criminal, the society will still assault you with that, right? We need to bring our children up believing in them and giving them hope for our future and not labelling them."

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Thursday that Gray may have been misinformed and should be educated on the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006.

Asked about this, Gray said, “I’m open to opening up that dialogue. I have a few senatorial meetings set up and I would love to talk to the leaders of our country about their personal views and if they want to 'educate' me or share something to me, I’m open to that because I believe in having that conversation. That’s how we all grow. That’s how we widen our perspectives and it’s an issue that’s very close to my heart so i would love to hear the different sides.”

The beauty queen, who has been interviewed about her opinion on national issues, was asked if she would be taking an active role in the May 2019 midterm elections and if she will be voting. 

Gray said she will exercise her right to vote if her schedule permits. 

When asked what she is looking for in a senatorial candidate, Gray said: “ I want someone who’s a visionary and who will make better plans for the next generation even though it may not quickly serve us right now. We need to invest in that energy and that vision so that our next generation will reap the fruit, if that makes sense. Because this whole mentality that, get one today than investing tomorrow, in the long run, it’s not gonna work out for us.”

Gray said she wants to carve her name as a Ms. Universe with purpose who can be a voice for others. 

She was asked if this included pushing for the rights of transgenders to join the next Bb. Pilipinas beauty contest. 

“I personally don’t have a problem with it. Why? Because as a beauty queen, we’re more than physical… We need to stand for something, whether it’s a cause that you believe in or something that you’re passionate about or whether you’re a flag bearer for the transgender. We need to be more than just a beautiful girl and to have a voice for something. That’s their platform to create more acceptance and understanding and tolerance within our society.”

The country's fourth Miss Universe winner will be part of an ABS-CBN special, “Raise your flag” on Febuary 24, but she is most looking forward to her charity visit to the kids of Young Focus.