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Miss World-PH dazzles Fil-Ams in New York visit

/ 01:43 AM November 30, 2016
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NY Consul General Tess Dizon De Vega welcomes Miss World Philippines Catriona Gray. INQUIRER/ Carol Tanjutco

NEW YORK CITY — Miss World-Philippines Catriona Gray visited New York City for the first time, en route to the Miss World pageant in Washington, DC, to prepare for the Dec. 18 contest.

The Filipino American media embraced her as their new darling, after Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

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Gray is a Filipina Australian model, an only child whose mother is from Oas, Albay. Her name Catriona is from her father’s Scottish heritage, a Gaelic-Celtic version of “Catherine,” after her paternal grandmother who used to paint and sign her name as Catriona.

Gray humbly admitted, “I still get goosebumps being labeled as Miss World Philippines because I never planned this, it is my first pageant ever. I started off as a model, so it’s a very different world. So it’s a journey of firsts. This is my first time in New York, my first time to fly business class, a great improvement from flying economy! It is also my first time to visit Washington tomorrow. I spent my day walking around Central Park, the city is so beautiful, I could not have prepared myself for the fall colors, it’s my first time to experience fall! But, in a way I feel so at home especially with all of you here now.”

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Catriona Gray answering questions from Fil-Am reporters. INQUIRER/ Carol Tanjutco

Gray continued, “I am 22 years old, I am a very creative person. I love music, I love art. Recently, I discovered a need for myself to give back to my community. I started my advocacy in Tondo, Manila. I grew up in Australia. When I went to Philippines, I experienced the side of the city that is very cosmopolitan. That kind of sight never prepared me for what I saw in Tondo. I was shocked that families were living with such little resources, surviving with so little day by day.”

Talking about her meaningful purpose, she said that she partnered with an organization established in 2007 that provides free and accessible education for children. “It’s a long term solution, not a quick fix. Hopefully, through education, we can erase poverty in Tondo,” she explained.

Gray is fundraising for a three-story building that will become a childcare and pre-school center for the children of Tondo. (For more information about her advocacy, visit her blog: http://cat-elle.com/paraiso/.) “This charity is truly the catalyst why I joined this Miss World Pageant. Here I am today joining the 66th edition. I feel so proud to wear the Philippines sash,” Gray added.

NY Consul General Tess Dizon De Vega described her as a visual artist: “She paints. Some of her works have gone to charity. I’ve seen her blog. She has a special recipe for muffins! So don’t let her slim figure fool you because she is also a foodie. In other words, she is multitalented, multifaceted, like all the wonderful Filipinos we’ve had with us here and around the world. We are rooting and praying for you. We are very proud that you are carrying our Philippine flag. ”

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On the first leg of her U.S. trip, Miss World Philippines Catriona Gray stopped by the Philippine Consulate General of New York to “Meet and Greet” members of the Filipino American media. INQUIRER/ Carol Tanjutco

The big question is, what are her chances of bagging the coveted crown, which was held by Filipina Megan Young in 2013?

The competition has several categories: closed door interview; talent; multimedia; beauty with a purpose; talk model; sports and fitness. Gray feels very confident about the talk model and being a beauty with a purpose. She feels most vulnerable about sports and fitness.

“By the time I was 12, I was 5”8” very lanky, I didn’t know what to do with my body so sports is not my forte. But I will give it my best shot,” she revealed.

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To the delight of her audience, the well-rounded Catriona Gray rendered a sample of her singing captured in this Youtube video:

Gray advises everyone to do small things that empower other people, something that may appear so insignificant and yet can create a ripple effect.

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TAGS: beauty pageant, beauty pageant entry Philippines, Miss World Contest, Miss World Philippines Catriona Gray, NY Consul General Tess Dizon De Vega
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