Catriona Gray described her Miss Universe 2018 reign as “unforgettable, life-changing and purposeful.”
“I’ve always believed as women, we have the power to redefine our generation. When we raise our voices together, the words women power become more than just a phrase; they become a movement. I wanted my year to be a reign with purpose. From advocating for quality education for all to raising awareness for HIV/AIDS, I’ve strived to use my words for good,” she said at this year’s Miss Universe pageant in Atlanta, Georgia.
She continued on to thank her parents, mentors, her fans and the Miss Universe organization for giving her a platform to express what she is passionate about.
“As I close this chapter, I do so with a grateful heart. To everyone with a dream, know that your dreams are valid and on your path you are never denied, only directed,” the fourth Miss Universe titleholder from the Philippines said.
Catriona shared that she has always had a voice but with Miss Universe, she was given a platform to voice her concerns.
“We’re given this amazing platform to voice things that we are passionate about, about the things we care about. Being a volunteer in the slums of Manila really changed my life and gave me purpose. I saw how education has the potential to change the lives of children and also change the lives of their family and therefore a community,” she said.
“I would ask these kids what they want to be when they grow up. So many have said, ‘you know what Cat I want to be a teacher’ and that really did make such an impact on me because they want to be the change that they receive. And I thought that was so magical,” she further shared.
When asked to give advice to this year’s Miss Universe hopefuls, the Bicolana beauty reminded them that they are representing not just themselves but their countries as well.
“You know what, I would tell them to know what they’re here representing because we women, we don’t come out here with the name across our chest. We come here representing a whole country and I want that feeling to fill them with pride and allow them to hold their head high when they come out here and give it their best tonight,” she said.
After her final walk, Catriona crowned the next Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa.