MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray recalled the journey she went through competing in the pageant in Thailand last year. (READ: Philippines' Catriona Gray is Miss Universe 2018)
In a video posted on the Miss Universe social media accounts, Catriona shared what she felt when she was called as part of the Top 20, all the way to when she secured a spot in the Top 3.
Catriona said that during the swimsuit round, it was the only time she was able to use the cape or sarong because during rehearsals, only two capes were provided for the contestants.
"I never actually got to practice in a cape. When I walked down onstage, it was my first time ever using the cape or the sarong," she said.
Of all the segments, Catriona said the evening gown portion was her favorite. The now-famous red gown created by Mak Tumang was inspired by the Mayon volcano in Albay where her mom is from. (READ: Catriona Gray's mom once dreamt of daughter's Miss Universe moment)
Catriona described the backstage scenes as chaotic as she and the other finalists changed into their evening gowns and had their makeup done.
The Filipino-Australian beauty queen said she was ecstatic when the Top 5 were called.
"If there was any moment in my whole journey that I felt like, oh my goodness, that this is destiny, this would be one of them," she said. "Because out of all the Top 5, everyone was in a neutral silver or gold bedazzled dress, and I'm the only one in color and I'm announced in the middle."
She admitted feeling worried and scared when she was asked the question on legalizing marijuana.
Catriona went on to the Top 3 where she was asked about life lessons. She cited the main purpose of why she joined Miss Universe – charity work. (TRANSCRIPT: Miss Universe 2018 opening statements, Q&A, final word)
Another favorite moment – getting to walk with singer Ne-Yo, because of Catriona's love for R&B music.
When the Philippines was announced as the winner, Catriona said she did not cry at the start. "I think I was just so happy. What you're supposed to do when you win, we were supposed to walk on one side of the stage and the other and come back to the center. I just kept walking because my mind was blank.... It was an amazing moment."
She only became emotional afterwards when she saw her parents crying tears of joy.
As she prepares to pass on the crown, Catriona said that looking back, if people had asked her years ago about winning the title, she would have said it was impossible. But as things turned out, she's a titleholder and working for the causes she believes in.
"To have been given this amazing opportunity, to represent not only country, but also in a way to represent all the 95 girls I've competed with, I am part of the legacy of Miss Universe that will continue to empower and uplift women from all around the country, from all different cultures that bring us together. And that's when women become their most powerful: when we work together." – Rappler.com