Catriona Gray leaves for New York City Thursday to begin reign

Published December 20, 2018, 1:46 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Newly crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray will fly to New York City Thursday night to start her reign in the most prestigious beauty pageant.


Gray’s Instagram followers have already reached three million just three days after she won the crown.

“How I’m feeling now that there’s 3MILLION of you on this journey!” says Gray on IG. Few days before the coronation night last Dec. 17, the number of her followers was only 800,000.

Before she left the country, Gray would attend a private charity function in Metro Manila.

As soon as she arrives in The Big Apple, Gray will do a series of press tours where she will make guest appearances on popular American radio and television shows and sit in on print interviews.

Last Dec. 19, architect Richelle Singson-Michael, daughter of former Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, said that Gray is expected to return to Manila in January “for her victory parade and press conference.”

* Young Focus Philippines

Bebo Bharwani, board member of Young Focus Philippines, said that he is proud of the Filipino-Australian beauty queen and her works.

On Instagram, Bharwani said: “I met Catriona, about 2 years ago at the Young Focus student center in Tondo, Manila. Young Focus does a lot of work with the communities that live in and around the Smokey Mountain landfill;

“What was also striking about Cat’s time with Young Focus was that it was clear she knew everyone. She knew the kids, their names, the dreams, she also had a special relationship with the staff of Young Focus;

“You see, staff members, the teachers and social workers who work so hard and give of themselves are often overlooked, Cat knew them and hung out with them, she saw them;

“Just recently, we figured the problem of Smokey mountain is that people think is that it belongs in the past, and we wanted to call attention to it. Immediately Cat volunteered, she had a platform, and influence and spared no time using it for good;

“This long post, is to convey first hand that her heart has always been to help. For us at Young Focus, together with the staff and kids, this something we have always known,” Bharwani said.

“Now, for those who may have jumped the gun, who may have not understood ‘the beauty in poverty’ idea from the final question;

“From what I’ve seen, and from the friends I’ve made who have devoted their lives in working to help the poor, they would say, Absolutely 100% there is no beauty in poverty. As a matter of fact, when you do visit, you see the evil underbelly of the system the deliberately keeps things unequal;

“So the beauty Cat speaks of isn’t from a general point of view that romanticizes poverty. The beauty she speaks of is comes from what she has discovered in the stories of the kids, the families, and the people who have devoted their lives in serving others;

They come from knowing actual names, hearing actual dreams. And her response has always been to cheer people on, and when she could, she lent lent her resources. She gave a voice to those we have long forgotten,” added Bharwani.