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Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray On Winning The Title & Chasing Her Dreams

Anthony mugo

Sept. 18, 2019

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, a passionate art lover received her Master Certificate in Music Theory from Berklee College of Music. She works closely with Young Focus Philippines, an education based NGO that provides free education and school sponsorships for children in Tondo Manila, one of the poorest neighborhoods within the country’s capital city.
Additionally, Catriona is an advocate for HIV/AIDS education and prevention after losing a close friend to the virus. She supports Love Yourself Philippines, an organization that offers free testing, education and treatment to those living with HIV/AIDS, and as the Miss Universe, has worked towards creating more awareness to the epidemic.
An exceptional woman, who is an inspiration to all, Catriona Gray talks to Women Fitness about her dream that came true when she was crowned Miss Universe 2018 and how that inspires her to work hard for the people around the world.
Namita Nayyar:
Your foray into the world of pageantry began in 1999 when you won Little Miss Philippines in Sydney at the age of five, and since then there has been no stopping for you. You were crowned Miss Universe 2018 which propelled your professional career to the height where you have been at the top of the world of fashion and modelling. Tell us more about this spectacular journey and how it all began?
Catriona Gray:
From a glance it really seems that being a representative of my country and participating in Miss Universe was a childhood dream of mine. But to tell you the truth, I never grew up with an interest in pageantry. It was not until a close friend of mine joined a national pageant in 2014 that I realized the platform pageantry had in my country. I was volunteering at an education based non-governmental organization at the time, and so I began to open my eyes to the possibility of combining the platform of pageantry with my passion for my cause. And that’s how it all began.
Namita Nayyar:
What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine? How do you stay fit while travelling?
Catriona Gray:
My favorite workouts consist of combining Pilates (for posture, lengthening and toning), weights (for strength), and HIIT (for conditioning). I usually rely on mat-based Pilates while traveling, and being busy with work also keeps me on my feet.
Namita Nayyar:
“Being mindful of what I’m burning and what I’m putting in.” going by your philosophy do you take a special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Catriona Gray:
I wouldn’t say that I’m on a “strict diet” but my usual food intake consists of fresh, whole foods. I don’t really enjoy sweets or sodas either which definitely helps.
Namita Nayyar:
You have glowing skin and gorgeous hair. What skin treatments do you recommend to keep your skin young and glowing and secondly, what haircare routine do you follow to make them look so stunning?
Catriona Gray:
I visit my dermatologist once a month to get facials and extractions. My skin is prone to hormonal breakouts so I really take the time to find a skin care regime that works for my skin type (which varies depending on my travels to different climates). I try to give my hair a break from heat and styling whenever I can since it’s styled so much for work. I use the CHI Iron Guard for protection when I do need to style my hair, and on off days I love to use the CHI Keratin Leave-In Conditioner just to give my hair some extra love. I always treat my skin and hair care routines like pamper/self-love time.
Namita Nayyar:
How did you feel before and after your memorable win of Miss Universe 2018, becoming the fourth Filipina to win the pageant?
Catriona Gray:
It’s been such a fulfilling journey and I’ve learned so much. On my way to the Miss Universe coronation night, I made a lot of effort to incorporate my country every step of the way, and so the support I received and the pride I felt really characterized the whole experience for me. Of course after “PHILIPPINES” was called my life changed instantly. Seeing my audience grow from the Philippines to the entire world has led me to recognize what an amazing opportunity I have, but that it also comes with huge responsibility. Every step of the way I’m always eager to learn, and my heart for giving back to the community continues to be my anchor.
Namita Nayyar:
In your reign as Miss Universe, what has been your most memorable moment or experience that you fondly remember?
Catriona Gray:
My homecoming celebration in the Philippines. During my homecoming I had two parades. I’ve seen my social media following increase throughout my journey and I’ve seen the support through comments and that’s one thing. But to see—with my own eyes—thousands of people come out and celebrate with me was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll remember forever.
Namita Nayyar:
You are a world leading media personality, fashion model, style icon, beauty pageant titleholder and brand ambassador. How do you manage such a remarkable multi-dimensional lifestyle?
Catriona Gray:
I constantly remind myself of the WHY—why I’m here in the first place—and that is to be in a role of service to the community. Secondly, whenever I’m given an opportunity to work or speak, I always give my all and stay true to myself.
Namita Nayyar:
In Philippine beauty pageant history, you are the first Filipina to represent the country in both the Miss World and Miss Universe competitions. Did you always have you eyes set on this goal? What all went into the  preparation for such big international pageants?
Catriona Gray:
My final foray into pageantry with the aim to represent my country in the Miss Universe competition was an endeavor that began with the sentiment of “no regrets.” I wanted to live my life without any “what-ifs” and so my journey began. My preparations were thorough. Comparing both pageants, my prep for Nationals and Miss Universe were much more thorough, time consuming and focused. It consisted of learning even more about my country’s history and culture, creating content for social media and sharing important messages on issues I care about, walking with confidence on the runway, speech and interview preparation, curating outfits and physical fitness for wellness.
Namita Nayyar:
In one of your Pageant questions, you said “I will dedicate my voice and essence to carry that torch and to set charitable causes alight, such as my personal advocacy, the Paraiso Bright Beginnings Project.” Tell us more about these charitable projects that you are involved with?
Catriona Gray:
I work mainly around supporting access to education. For the last three years I’ve worked with Young Focus, a NGO in Manila, Philippines that works to give children access to quality education as a means to break the cycle of poverty. I also work with several HIV/AIDS organizations in both the Philippines and abroad (Love Yourself PH, amfAR, Apicha, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Latino Commission on AIDS and more) to help spread awareness and education on the virus, encourage others to get tested and break the stigma often associated with testing.
Namita Nayyar:
Your advice and motivational words to the inspiring and budding fashion models who all are your fans and look up to you?
Catriona Gray:
I believe that we have an ambition placed in our heart for a reason and that our dreams are valid. Not only do you need to believe in yourself, but you need to surround yourself with people who believe in you too. And find your purpose—why are you doing this? I truly believe our purpose comes to life when we use our unique talents and skills to give back and enrich the lives of others.
Namita Nayyar:
You have over 6 million followers on your Instagram account @catriona_gray, how do you use this platform to connect and motivate your followers?
Catriona Gray:
I use social media as a tool to connect with my supporters and also as a channel to push for awareness and educate others on the causes that I’m passionate about. I’ve found so much fulfillment in involving people in my journey and cultivating an online environment that’s positive.
Namita Nayyar:
What do you wish to say about the website Womenfitness.net and message for our visitors?
Catriona Gray:
Each of us have unique journeys and it’s important for us not to get caught up in a “comparison trap” and lose our joy by comparing our lives to the lives of others. Neither society nor your peers should be the ones to define what success is for you—that’s up to you.
Follow Catriona’s journey on:
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
Website
Women Fitness Team extends a special thanks to The Miss Universe Organization for facilitating the interview with Ms. Gray.
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