MANILA – (UPDATED) After Miss World, Catriona Gray is set to conquer the Miss Universe stage.
As predicted by pageant fans and experts, Gray was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2018 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday.
She also awarded the Pitoy Moreno Best in National Costume Award, Miss Ever Bilena, Jag Denim Queen, Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown.
Gray succeeds Rachel Peters, who made it to the Top 10 of Miss Universe 2017. Many are hoping that she will bring home the Philippines’ fourth crown after Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, Margie Moran in 1973, and Gloria Diaz in 1969.
In the question and answer portion, United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim asked Gray for her message to the women of Marawi.
"My answer and my message to the women is to be strong. As women, we're the head of household and we have amazing influence, not only in our own families, as mothers, sisters and friends, but also in our community. If we can get the women to stay strong and be that image of strength for the children and the people around them, then once the rebuilding is complete and underway, the morale of the community will stay strong and high," Gray said.
A singer and model, Gray joined Miss World Philippines in 2016 and won.
She had a controversial Top 5 finish in Miss World in the same year, with many Filipinos believing that she should have won the crown.
Other Bb. Pilipinas 2018 winners include Michele Gumabao (Binibining Pilipinas Globe), Karen Gallman (Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental), Eva Patalinjug (Binibining Pilipinas Grand International), Jehza Huelar (Binibining Pilipinas Supranational) and Ma. Ahtisa Manalo (Binibining Pilipinas International).
Samantha Bernardo was named 2nd runner-up while Vickie Rushton was named 1st runner-up.