SO EXCITED Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and journalists are so excited during Wednesday’s press briefing on her homecoming in Quezon City. Gray’s motorcade this afternoon passes through Pasay, Manila and Makati and is expected to tie up traffic on roads near and along Roxas Boulevard. —EDWIN BACASMAS
Cat’s parade and tips for aspiring PH beauty queens
The waiting area was abuzz even before media was led into the hall, where photographers and TV crew quickly angled for a good vantage point.
The frenzy wasn’t for the benefit of a visiting foreign dignitary or a Hollywood actor on a publicity tour. It was all for Catriona Gray, the reigning Miss Universe, and only the fourth Filipina to bring home the pageant’s coveted title.
Gray’s official homecoming since her big win includes a parade in Manila on Thursday, Feb. 21, and in Quezon City on Feb. 23, visits to her advocacies Young Focus and Love Yourself Philippines, as well as a culminating concert at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Feb. 24.
On Dec. 17 last year, Gray bested over 80 contestants at the Miss Universe competition in Thailand, where she wowed viewers at the swimsuit competition with her slow-mo “lava walk,” that has spurred dozens of online memes and video tributes.
For the national costume competition, Gray wore a printed bodysuit that mimicked tribal tattoos, and a fringed headdress while dragging an oversized parol (Christmas lantern) behind her. The outfit incorporated elements from the country’s three main island masses: Luzon (the lantern), Visayas (the body tattoos), and Mindanao (the beaded headdress).
True to her vision
In Wednesday’s press conference, her peach terno top with a single butterfly sleeve was a deliberate choice, one that stayed true to her vision of promoting the Philippines in the way she presents herself.
The moment she addressed the media, Gray became teary-eyed.
“At the Miss Universe pageant night, I really made sure I applied waterproof makeup,” she said, adding that though she wasn’t sure of winning, she wanted to be prepared.
No tears fell that evening; all throughout the televised pageant night, Gray felt upbeat, even gamely dancing at one point when the cameras weren’t trained on her.
“I think tomorrow during the parade, that’s when I’m going to cry,” Gray said. “I feel like I’m just a simple girl bringing joy to Filipinos who are so passionate about pageants,” she added.
For young girls who’d want to follow in her footsteps, Gray gave three pointers: One, know why you are doing this because you need to have a purpose. Two, keep true to your vision which, for her at least, means being hands-on in all aspects of the pageant, and three, stay strong mentally.
“You will be bombarded on social media—both with good and bad (comments)—because that’s the arena we’re in. So you need to know how to filter things out,” she said.
In today’s parade, Gray will board a float whose design echoes her lava-inspired gown during the pageant night.
The parade starts at 2 p.m. at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Pasay City, turns left on Roxas Boulevard, and proceeds northward toward Kalaw Street in Manila.
It turns right on Taft Avenue going southward all the way to Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, (Buendia), where it turns left toward Makati City. The parade makes a final right turn on Ayala Avenue, where it ends.
“A stop-and-go traffic situation in all intersections will be applied during the motorcade,” Manila Police District Supt. Carlo Magno Manuel said in a statement, adding that roads near and along Roxas Boulevard will be affected.
While Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach was whisked away to Quezon City for another motorcade after her three-hour parade in Makati, organizers opted to schedule the second leg of Gray’s motorcade on Saturday at Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
This will be followed with a thanksgiving show at Smart Araneta Coliseum dubbed “Raise Your Flag for Catriona Gray,” with performances by Bamboo, Jed Madela, KZ Tandingan, Morisette Amon, the TNT Boys, and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra.
Wurtzbach is expected to grace the occasion. Gray will also visit the office of a fellow Bicolano, Vice President Leni Robredo. —With reports from Armin P. Adina and Aie Balagtas See