Catriona Elisa Gray from Philippines was crowned Miss Universe 2018 at a gala ceremony, where representatives from South Africa and Venezuela secured the first runner-up and second runner-up spots. India’s Nehal Chudasama failed to make it to the Top 20.
Ms Gray, aged 24, was born in Cairns to an Australian father and a Filipina mother. She grew up in Australia but moved to Manila to work as a model and actress.
Gray edged out first runner-up Tamaryn Green of South Africa and third-place Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela. She succeeds Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa.
In the final question round, Ms Gray was asked about the most important lesson she has learnt in life and how would she apply it in her time as Miss Universe.
She said: “I work a lot in the slums of Manila and life there is very poor and sad. I have always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look for the beauty in the faces of the children, and I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining and to asses where I could give something and provide something.
“And if I could also teach people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity would not brew and foster, and children would have a smile on their face.”negativity.”
Beauty pageants are a very big deal in the Philippines. Families crowd round TVs to watch. Chat groups are set up to provide a running commentary on costumes and stage blunders.
This week, hair salons in Manila have even been offering incrementally improving discounts as Miss Gray progressed through the rounds.