MANILA -- Miss Universe-Philippines Catriona Gray started joining beauty pageants during one of the toughest times in her life.
In an interview on "Magandang Buhay" on Tuesday, Gray said it started when she decided to do charity work in Manila.
"Actually it's kind of a long story. It was born out of a really hard time in my life. I was the breadwinner of my family. Sobra 'yung pressure sa akin," recalled the Filipino-Australian, who worked as a commercial model before becoming a beauty queen.
"I felt so down and everything. I had so many opportunities closed in my face at the moment where I really needed work, nawala. I had nothing new coming in. I was like, I'm so unhappy, I used to be upset every single day. So, I said to myself I need to think of something else. So, I went to charity work. I found myself in Tondo, Manila and it was my first time ever walking the streets of Tondo. Sobra ang impact niyan sa buhay ko," Gray continued.
"Parang here I was complaining about my situation in my life, feeling down, then here are these people na ang saya-saya but with so little. Parang I was never the same after."
Grey was also inspired by her best friend, Miss World 2014 Valerie Weigmann, who was also involved in charity work.
"She was able to draw people to the cause. Na-inspire ako. That's how I pursued pageantry because I didn't realize how big of a platform that it would give you or your cause. 'Yun ang realization ko," Gray recalled.
In 2016, she was crowned Miss World Philippines and competed in Miss World, where she finished in the Top 5.
She tried her luck again, this time in the Binibining Pilipinas nad last March, she was crowned as Miss Universe-Philippines. Grey will represent the country at this year's Miss Universe pageant.
"Parang may different aspect ito in preparing for Miss Universe. Parang you need to put your best foot forward. You needto be the best version of yourself that you can be. So, for me naman I really love focusing on my pasarela or walk," says Gray when asked about her preparation for Miss Universe.
In the morning show, Gray was also game in showing her signature pageant walk.
In the end, Gray expressed her gratitude to all the Filipinos.
"Salamat po talaga for all of your support. I feel your love everyday through the messages online. And when I meet you guys in person I just want to say thank you. I'm so grateful to have amazing fans like you. and I hope to make you proud come Miss Universe 2018," Gray shared.