Miss Philippines Catriona Gray glistened onstage as she claimed the Miss Universe 2018 title Sunday night ET.
The 24-year-old became the fourth Filipina to take home the title, besting contestants from 93 other nations at the 67th Miss Universe Pageant, held in Bangkok, Thailand.
As she accepted her crown and a bouquet of flowers, Gray sported an embellished red gown with a revealing thigh-high slit. For footwear, she sported sky-high nude sandals, selecting a platform style with crisscross straps.
Gray’s wardrobe choice was filled with emotional meaning.
“When I was 13, my mom said she had a dream that I would win Miss Universe in a red dress,” the winner explained.
When Gray reunited with her mother following the pageant, she said her mom cried.
The new Miss Universe succeeds 2017 winner Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa.
This year’s pageant almost saw back-to-back South African winners, with beauty Tamaryn Green coming in second place. Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela rounded out the top three.
While Gray represented the Philippines, the singer-actress has an Australian father, and she grew up in Cairns, Australia. Gray came to the U.S. for college, studying at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
This year’s pageant was history-making, as it was the first to have a transgender woman as a competitor. Angela Ponce of Spain got the internet buzzing about transgender rights throughout the competition.
“We don’t have the same rights, but we have the same obligations. At school, disinformation is what becomes prejudice — the bullying, the fact that you feel alone, excluded. I always say that it’s not that you feel like a woman; you already are a woman. A transgender is not a man or a boy who feels like a woman, she’s already a transgender person,” Ponce explained.
Although the pageant was relatively controversy-free, Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers was forced to issue an apology after a video depicting her making fun of other contestants for not speaking English went viral.
“[Moss Vietnam] H’Hen Nie is “so cute and she pretends to know so much English, and then you ask her a question after having a whole conversation with her, and she [is confused],” Summers said in one clip.
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Regina George, is that you? This is basically like the most dramatic reality show, but condensed into 1 minute lol. @sarahrosesummers hopefully will prove that ignorance will not win you a @missuniverse title…whatever that means these days. This is basically what normalized xenophobia looks like. If she’s trying to show empathy, the condescending, intolerant tone tells a different story. A reminder that you’re participating in a competition in a country/continent where English is NOT the primary language. Cc: @francesca.hung @valeriamoralesd @rern_sinat (Miss Cambodia) • #sarahrosesummers #rernsinat #valeriamorales #francescahung #missuniverse2018 #missuniverse #missworld #missusa #missaustralia #misscolombia #beautyqueen #beautypageant #pageant #pageantlife #missamerica #wiwt #ootd #realityshow #meangirls #reginageorge #gossip #catty #lol #wtf #dietprada
The theme of this year’s Miss Universe was “Empowered Women.” As such, the contest was judged by seven women, including former pageant winners, a fashion designer and a businesswoman.
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