‘It was meant to light up’: Catriona clueless as to sudden malfunction of Miss Universe national costume


Posted at Dec 11 2018 06:08 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2018 10:23 PM

Catriona Gray poses during the 2018 Miss Universe national costume presentation in Chonburi province on Monday. Lillian Suwanrumpha, AFP

Catriona Gray poses during the 2018 Miss Universe national costume presentation in Chonburi province on Monday. Lillian Suwanrumpha, AFP

Catriona Gray poses during the 2018 Miss Universe national costume presentation in Chonburi province on Monday. Lillian Suwanrumpha, AFP

MANILA — Catriona Gray’s radiant smile and confidence on the Miss Universe stage on Monday belied a sudden technical mishap and an unexpected challenge that marred her performance during the  national costume competition.

Gray, the Philippines’ representative to the international pageant, admitted feeling “really, really sad” over the turn of events during the pre-pageant show in Chonburi, Thailand.

In an Instagram live video on Tuesday morning, Gray thanked her supporters for the “amazing feedback” to her costume that combined elements identified with the Philippines’ three groups of islands.

A collabaration among Gray, designer Jearson Demavivas, artist Carlos Buendia, and shoe designer Jojo Bragais, the fusion ensemble consisted of a T’boli headdress and brass accessories (Mindanao), a nude bodysuit with intricate Pintados pattern (Visayas), and an enormous parol backpiece (Luzon).


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Among the comments on social media pointed out that had the parol been lit up, the “LuzViMinda” outfit would have made more impact. A number speculated that candidates were disallowed to use electric lights on stage at the last minute.

“A lot of you were asking if it was meant to have lights. Yes, it was,” Gray said in her live video, addressing her followers.

Explaining why the parol had no lights as the took her turn during the showcase, Gray narrated: “My parol was meant to light up, but for some reason — I don’t know why — before the show… I was trying to turn it on, and it wouldn’t turn on, and then I tried to turn it on again and it did turn on and it turned on twice in a row, so then I left it. And then just before I went out on stage, I tried to turn it on again, and again it wasn’t working.

“I’m not sure if the wires just got moved during the transport here to Thailand, or what happened… But it just so happened that on the day itself and on the time that I walked out on stage, the lights, they weren’t working.”

Gray made no secret of her disappointment over the malfunction, as she “would have loved to show the full effect of what my team had put their time and effort to.”


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The parol, which was handmade with fiber glass in Pampanga, was supposed to have light effects that were timed and synchronized, according to Gray.

The gigantic backpiece, as pageant fans correctly guessed, was physically heavy — and while that may be the case, Gray shared that it was not meant to affect her stage walk as much as it did on Monday night.

She explained: “The parol itself was really heavy. That’s why we put wheels. I was initially supposed to carry it, but the weight was just too heavy, and it was on my shoulders. So we decided to put it on wheels.

“The wheels we prepared were for a flat floor, or a tiled floor, or a wooden floor. Just a smooth floor. And I didn’t expect that the floor for the national costume competition would be [carpeted], so when I walked on the carpet, the wheels weren’t running smoothly, and it was really, really hard to pull. That is why it was a little bit difficult to pull my costume.”

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Gray surmised her showcase “would have been nicer if I could have walked better,” but added that the warm reception to her national costume despite the setbacks has been a source of encouragement.

“I just wanted to show the Filipino artistry and all the inspiration I took from our country in the national costume… We wanted it to be authentic, so it was made with every consideration in mind,” she said.

The December 10 national costume showcase was one of the pre-pageant events leading up to coronation day on December 17 at Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

If Gray succeeds in being crowned Miss Universe, she would be the fourth Filipina to do so after Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, Margie Moran in 1973, and Gloria Diaz in 1969.