Congratulations are in order! Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, was named the new Miss Universe at the 67th Miss Universe 2018 pageant. The competition took place at the Exhibition and Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, in Bangkok, Thailand and was hosted by television host Steve Harvey. After a series of emotional moments, Miss South Africa, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters stepped down from the throne to crown Catriona with the Mikimoto crown – valued at $350 thousand dollars. The 24-year-old is the fourth Philippine native to bring home the coveted title.
Miss Philippines, Catriona Gray, crowned the new Miss Universe 2018
Catriona Eliza Gray hails from Albay, Bicol in the Philippines. She has a masters in Music Theory and is in love with her country’s culture – especially its traditional foods like adobo, balut and mangoes, which are known to be of the sweetest in the world. According to the Miss Universe official website, she’s committed to fighting against AIDS and HIV and is a volunteer at the Young Focus NGO association.
Contestants stand together after being selected in the top 20
A total of 94 participants presented themselves up on the stage resulting in Sthefany Gutiérrez from Venezuela as second runner-up, while Miss South Africa, Tamaryn Green, won first runner-up. The competition kicked off with a group of 20 finalists in which Nepal, Philippines, South Africa, Vietnam and host country, Thailand made the first round for the African and Asian countries. As for Europe, Poland, Belgium, Great Britain, Hungary and Ireland made the cut. Curaçao, Costa Rica, Canada, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. There were spots left which were randomly chosen. Five open spots remained for which the United States, Venezuela, Indonesia, Brazil and Australia were picked.
This year’s pageant also introduced new dynamics, like the "opening statements" exercise, which was for contestants to talk about their dreams, passions and their biggest desires as the representatives of Miss Universe. Following these tests came the second round of eliminations leaving only ten contestants: South Africa, Vietnam, Venezuela, Philippines, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Nepal, Canada, Thailand and Puerto Rico.
Miss Laos won the national costume competition
Steve presented the winner for the national costume contest, which was won by Miss Laos, On-anong Homsombath. This was the southeast Asian country's first time participating in the competition, so this was a great accomplishment for them. Following the swimsuit and evening gown rounds, only five participants were left: Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela.
Ne-Yo was one of the night's performers
Steve asked the final question which was made by the participants themselves leaving Miss Venezuela, Miss South Africa and Miss Philippines as the top finalists. In her opening statement Catriona talked about visiting the poorest areas in her country and realizing the need to look for the beauty in things and to find the silver lining: "If I could teach people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negatively could not grow and foster, and children will have a smile on their face," she said. Congrats to the new Miss Universe!