A new Miss Universe has been crowned.
Catriona Gray, the 24-year-old reigning Miss Philippines, brought home the title Sunday at the 67th Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok. She beat out 93 other contestants including Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green, who was the runner-up, and second runner-up Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutierrez.
Gray explained in a Facebook post that when she was 13 years old, her mother said she’d dreamt the pageant queen had won the Miss Universe pageant in a red dress.
“At that time I thought nothing of it, and today my mother’s dream came true,” Gray wrote in a post following her win.“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.”
Gray’s win marks the fourth time a Miss Philippines has won the competition. Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers made it just short of the finals. Summers had stirred up controversy after posting a video that featured her mocking Miss Vietnam H’Hen Nie for not speaking English. Miss Spain Angela Ponce, the first trans contestant in the pageant’s history, did not make the competition’s Top 20. While Miss Thailand Sophida Kanchanarin made the Top 10, she failed to advance further.
Gray grew up in Australia and is a singer and model who earned a degree in music theory from Boston’s Berklee School of Music. Her win earned praise from Filipinos across communities, as well as the controversial president of the Philippines himself, Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ms. Gray truly made the entire Philippines proud when she sashayed on the global stage and showcased the genuine qualities defining a Filipina beauty: confidence, grace, intelligence and strength in the face of tough challenges,” Duterte said in a statement. “In her success, Miss Philippines has shown to the world that women in our country have the ability to turn dreams into reality through passion, diligence, determination and hard work.”
Filipinos across the internet also expressed their pride.