Crowd Favorite: What you need to know about our crowned candidate for Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray

It must have been a difficult night for the judges of the Binibining Pilipinas 2018 coronation yesterday night at the Araneta Coliseum as 40 candidates from all over the country are equally talented, smart, and beautiful. But it’s a competition, after all, and only a handful can bring home the coveted crowns that will allow them to move on to represent the Philippines in international pageants.

The emerging winners include: Bb Pilipinas International 2018: Ma. Ahtisa Manal, Bb Pilipinas Intercontinental 2018: Karen Gallman, Bb Pilipinas Globe 2018: Michele Gumabao, Bb Pilipinas Grand International 2018: Eva Patalinjug, and Bb Pilipinas Supranational 2018: Jehza Huelar.

One woman, however, seemed to have swept most of the special awards, including the distinction of being the next candidate to grace the biggest stage of all pageants, Miss Universe. Catriona Gray, a commercial model, bagged a total of five special awards, including the Pitoy Moreno Best in National Costume Award, Miss Ever Bilena, Jag Denim Queen, Best in Swimsuit and Best in Long Gown.

In the Q&A portion, she was asked by the United States Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim for her message for the women of Marawi. Her winning answer read, “My answer and my message to the women is to be strong. As women, we’re the head of household and we have amazing influence, not only in our own families, as mothers, sisters and friends, but also in our community. If we can get the women to stay strong and be that image of strength for the children and the people around them, then once the rebuilding is complete and underway, the morale of the community will stay strong and high.”

Undoubtedly a crowd favorite, Catriona has been a strong contender since day one of the 2018 Binibining Pilipinas pageant, having already won hearts when she was crowned Miss World Philipines in 2016. She then finished in the Top 5 of the Miss World 2016 pageant.

Here are some fun facts you may not know about this beauty queen:

She’s part Australian and Filipino.

Catriona was born in Cairns, Queensland to a Scottish-born Australian father, Ian Gray, from Fraserburgh, and a Filipino mother, Normita Ragas Magnayon, from Oas, Albay. She is named after her paternal grandmother, Catherine Gray, an immigrant to Western Australia from Scotland in 1952.

She’s a Taekwondo black belter.

Don’t let that pretty face fool you. Catriona can kick some butt because she trained in Taekwondo during most of her childhood. In fact, she obtained a Certificate in Outdoor Recreation and a black belt, which means that she’s completed rigorous training and passed a special test. She’s also a fitness enthusiast.

She is a multi-talented singer and songwriter.

Catriona earned her Masters Certificate in Music Theory from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She then became the lead singer of her school’s jazz band, and she also starred in local productions of “Miss Saigon.”

She has a travel and lifestyle blog.

Even before she joined beauty pageants, Catriona was already active not only in commercial modeling but also in the world of blogging. She documents all of her travels and projects in Cat’elle (, which is derived from her first two names (Catriona and Elisa). She personally writes about her travel experiences and provides helpful tips and guides for her readers. She also writes about her journey to  health and fitness, sharing her exercise sessions and healthy meal plans.

She’s the face of many brands and modeled for several magazine editorials and covers.

After she came back to the Philippines, she was signed on as a member of Mercator Artist and Model Management and IM Models. With her beauty, confidence, and many talents, several modeling projects came pouring in.

Catriona in a shampoo commercial

Catriona as one of MEGA’s cover stars

She’s a beauty queen in the making.

From the very beginning, she had all that it takes to become a beauty pageant contestant, but she had a little extra help in order to become a beauty queen. She had  her training with Jonas Gaffud, the beauty queen maker who trained Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Miss World 2013 Megan Young, and Miss International 2016 Kylie Versoza.

Catriona with Jonas Gaffud and Miss World 2013 Megan Young

She has a noteworthy advocacy.

In her blog, Catriona also promotes her advocacy, “Paraiso: The Bright Beginnings Project.” She writes, “It has become my mission to fundraise for the Preschool in Smokey Mountain. Through multiple efforts such as holding and performing at benefit concerts, auctioning off original artworks, creating social media movements and approaching different bodies and companies I hope to make the Paraiso: Beginning’s Project a success.”

“I believe that awakening a child’s love of learning as early as possible will pave the way for an enjoyable education and school experience that will best prepare them for the future.”

Check out Catriona’s dream board placed in her room:

We’re pretty sure she ticked off beauty queen off her list.

Photo credits: Official Bb Pilipinas website,, MEGA,

About Dianne Pineda 394 Articles
Magazine and online writer based in South Korea. Nerdy news writer by day, Korean pop culture writer by night.

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