A city in Queensland, Australia is planning to welcome Catriona Gray with a grand reception, should the newly crowned Miss Universe visit there during her reign.
The Philippine representative, 24, was born to an Australian father, Ian Gray, and a Filipino mother, Normita Magnayon, in the coastal city of Cairns in Far North Queensland.
A report published Tuesday on The Cairns Post online, citing mayor Bob Manning, said the city council holds a mayoral reception for “local people who have achieved world championship status.”
“We would look at holding a similar event for Catriona if we were made aware of an impending visit to Cairns,” the report quoted Manning as saying.
The city official added, referring to Gray’s Miss Universe triumph: “This is yet another wonderful Cairns success story. We’re all incredibly proud of Catriona; she’ll always be a Cairns girl at heart and we support her all the way.”
Reactions from Australian readers to the planned reception were mixed, as seen in Facebook comments on the Cairns Post report.
“She was born and raised in Cairns but didn’t represent Cairns or Australia. Why would Cairns pay for a reception for her? It’s a great achievement that she won this but I still can’t see why the Mayor is putting on a rates paid for reception?” one wrote.
Another said: “She may be a dual citizen, due to her mother being Filipina, but she was born in Cairns. So she’s an Aussie by birth and a Cairns local. She grew up and was educated here. Only lived in the Philippines since 2011. I’d like to see some credit coming back our way thanks very much. If it was someone who made it in Hollywood or something people would be falling over themselves to give them a celebration.”
“For what it’s worth, I’m happy for her and her family and for the Cairns Filipino community,” read another comment. “I do not however believe that Catriona deserves to have a Cairns rates payer funded reception. She chose to represent the Philippines and I’m also OK with that. Let the Philippines give her a reception on her return to the Philippines.”
Gray moved to Manila in 2011 after graduating from Cairns’ Trinity Anglican School, which similarly congratulated the beauty queen on her crowning through a Facebook post.
The school noted that Gray was “a house captain, lead singer in the jazz band, and a school chorister” during her time there.
Brisbane-based tabloid The Courier-Mail, meanwhile, had a more aggressive claim on Gray’s Miss Universe victory, with its front-page headline referring to her as “our crowning glory,” notably with “Philippines” crossed out with a red mark, and replaced with “Queensland.”
Gray, who made headlines for her Miss Universe outfits with patriotic elements, has been vocal of being a “proud Pinay.” One of her answers during the pageant finale mentioned standing there “not as one, but as 104 million Filipinos.”
In her first Instagram post after winning Miss Universe, Gray wrote: “Philippines, what an amazing honor it has been to carry your name across my chest and to embody you in all aspects. I may now carry the sash of Miss Universe, but I'll forever be your Miss Philippines.”