'You have made us all proud’: Celebrities, netizens react to Philippines’ Miss Universe 2018 win
SINGAPORE: Filipinos all over the world, politicians and celebrities on Monday (Dec 17) took to social media to express their joy as Miss Philippines Catriona Gray was crowned Miss Universe 2018.
The 24-year-old model, actress and seasoned beauty queen took the title at the Miss Universe pageant in Bangkok, bagging the crown for the Philippines for the fourth time.
Pia Wurtzbach, a former Philippine Miss Universe winner who took the crown in 2015, praised Gray’s “grace, commitment and fearlessness”, saying she had made her fellow countrymen proud.
“This girl is on fire! You started strong and captured our hearts with your grace, commitment and fearlessness!” she wrote in a post on Instagram. “And that walk ... how could anyone forget that walk? Now, you’ve conquered the Universe! This is just the beginning.
“Congratulations, Miss Universe 2018 @catriona_gray! You have made us all proud! Raise your flag!”
Philippine singer and actress Lea Salonga tweeted: “What wonderful news to wake up to!!! Congratulations, Catriona Gray (Philippines), for winning the Miss Universe crown!!!”
Gray's victory was closely followed in the Philippines, where beauty pageants are hugely popular.
Philippine leaders also expressed their congratulations to the Miss Universe winner.
The office of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said in a statement: "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.
"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."
Meanwhile, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo praised Gray’s decision to highlight her work with the poor, which sent a "much-needed message of hope".
“With the eyes of the world on you, you chose to highlight your work with the poor, and to send a much-needed message of hope to all,” tweeted the vice president. “With those words, you already became a winner in our hearts. Congratulations to my fellow Bicolana, our new Miss Universe, Catriona Gray!”
Said Gray: “I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila and the life there is very - it's poor and it's very sad, and I've always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look in the beauty in the faces of the children, and to be grateful. And I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson.
“If I could teach people also to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their face."
Gray's comments, however, drew a mixed reaction, with some criticising her for "romanticising" the issue.
Others voiced their support for her answer, praising her willingness to tackle the issue.
Said another Twitter user Lene Harmonizer: “That was like the most perfect answer. She wasn't trying to impress people. She just said what's in her heart.”
Miss South Africa, 24-year-old Tamaryn Green, was the first runner-up, followed by Miss Venezuela, 19-year-old Sthefany Gutiérrez.