MANILA, Philippines — A day before she crowns the new Miss Universe Philippines, reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray shared on Saturday, June 8, photos and videos documenting the preparations she made for the competition.
Prior to joining Binibining Pilipinas, Catriona won Miss World Philippines in 2016. (READ: From Miss World Philippines 2016 to Miss Universe Philippines 2018: The journey of Catriona Gray)
Here's a look back in Catriona's own words:
Before Bb Pilipinas
In between training, Catriona would her charity work. It was also in 2017 that she got herself involved in Love Yourself, an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS education awareness.
She continued her training for Binibini.
She also took time out to help Young Focus, a group that works to give disadvantages children a chance to go to school. Catriona has been working with the group even before she joined pageantry.
She also shared the first sketches of her national costume by Jearson Demavivas.
She also got to host the Love Gala with Miss Grand International 2016 1st runner-up Nicole Cordoves.
Catriona took a much-deserved break and flew to Australia to spend the holidays with her parents. It was also during that time that she and fashion deisgner Mak Tumang started discussing the design for the Sinag gown she wore during coronation night.
Bb Pilipinas 2018 application
As the deadline for Bb Pilipinas neared, pageant fans were eager to catch Catriona submitting her application. She did so on the last day.
It was also then that people found out that she was submitting her application as an independent candidate. In the Philippines, beauty queens typically come from "camps" who facilitate their training and preparations for pageants.
Catriona, of course, was picked as one of the 40 official candidates for the 2018 edition. The batch also included Ahtisa Manalo, Jehza Huelar, Michele Gumabao, Eva Patalinjug, and Karen Gallman.
Bb Pilipinas candidate
The candidates had two months of activities. During the talent competition, Catriona performed a song number.
But it wasn't all happy for Catriona. She said it was during talent competition that she received a lot of bodyshaming comments on social media.
"It was this same event that I experienced an increase in bodybashing, bodyshaming from so many in the online community. It's easy to tell someone to have a 'thick skin' but it hurts," she wrote.
She admitted that there were many days that she struggled with her own looks, but Catriona said she learned to accept the shape she had.
Catriona also shared clips from her practices for the press presentation and national costume fashion show. She was also able to squeeze in charity work and training in between the hectic schedule of a Binibini candidate.
Days before pageant night
Catriona continued to train her pasarela and attend activities with other candidates.
After months of preparation and hard work, Catriona succeeded Rachel Peters as the new Miss Universe Philippines.
"Ten months of preparation, hours of training, the dedication of a team. The dream of a Filipina," she wrote.
Her final message: "It's time for another empowered Filipina's life to change."
Catriona went on to become the Philippines' 4th Miss Universe titleholder. — Alexa Villano/Rappler.com