People & Inspiration

In Focus: Strength In Diversity—Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray On Living In A Multicultural Setup

In Focus: Strength In Diversity—Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray On Living In A Multicultural Setup

As a child, newly hailed Miss Universe Catriona Gray grew up shuttling between two countries: Australia, the homeland of her father and the Philippines, the birthplace of her mother. I really felt like I experienced two different worlds,” Catriona told ABS-CBN Lifestyle months before she competed. “In my mind, there were very distinct characteristics to each. The Philippines for me is always associated with very festive family gatherings filled with loud, colorful laughter and a sense of family. Australia, on the other hand, was quiet, slow, and easy going.”

 
 
 
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Glow baby ?? Photography @bjpascual Styling and art direction @eldzsmejia Makeup @jellyeugenio Hair @hairbybrentsales Nails: @mimsqiu

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[related: Hot Stuff: Catriona Gray’s Incredible Smarts Might Have A Lot To Do With Her Love For Reading!]

 
 
 
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"In the past, people were born royal. Nowadays, royalty comes from what you do." - Gianni Versace I felt incredibly proud to shed light on the rich, beautiful culture of Mindanao, most specifically Marawi which as of late has been synonymous with war, loss and tradegy. @jearsond took a vision, and brought it to life. His passion for what he does shows in every stone, every thread and every detail. Working with @jearond and his team was a dream and I couldn't think of a better pairing! ??? The look was completed with original, handmade adornments lovingly created by @farah_abu. ??? The weaved Inaul fabric unique to the Maguindanaon and Iranun tribes in Muslim Mindanao used in the gown was integrated into traditional style wedge shoes by @bragaisshoes. To my whole team along with @ton_lao, @harleybarleyyy, the creative vision of Jesson Cappuchino, dance choreography of my angels, @mimsqiu for my pasabog nails and @robinhistoria of David's Salon who made me look like a Muslim Princess last night at the @bbpilipinasofficial National Costume show, I love you all!! ?? To all of my loves who have commented and showed their support either in person or online, thank you! I loved being a princess for a night! Thank you for supporting my journey to be a queen! 14 days to go! ?? Photography @riaregino / Makeup @chinitohosikusieho / Hair @hairbybrentsales #CatrionaGrayBBP2018 #CatGanern #Binibini20 #BbPilipinas2018

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In many ways, our very first guest editor aka #ABSCBNLifestyleInspo had a very Pinoy upbringing, with her mother instilling the importance of family, finding reasons for happiness every day, and gratitude for the little things in life. She recalls her childhood Philippine visits fondly. “My mom is from a family of 10 siblings and I have all these cousins,” laughed Catriona, further detailing adventures to the local palengke and playing basketball on the roads. “My birthdays are close to Christmas, so I would always celebrate my birthday here.”

 [related: In Focus: Why Catriona Gray's Beauty Mentor Jelly Eugenio Thinks She Deserves This Win]

 
 
 
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IBONG ADARNA ?????? The Blazing Siren by @maktumang My preliminary gown was inspired by the 'Ibong Adarna': a prominent Filipino folklore that is a mythologicalnous bird. Story goes, the Ibong Adarna's enchanting voice can enable complete healing to anyone who hears it. Some artists liken it to the mythological Phoenix where it recurrently regenerates itself by arising amidst a spectacle of flames and candescence. This makes it a fitting symbol of resilience, rising and rebirth. ?????? My earrings were designed by me and executed by @tesserajewelry as another ode to the Philippines with the Philippine sun and golden South sea pearls, our national gem. ???? Thank you to @maktumang for his amazing craftsmanship and exquisite execution of this gown, to @justine.aliman19 and @ton_lao for styling in @bragaisjojo heels and @tesserajewelry. Thank you to mamang @hairbybrentsales and @jellyeugenio for teaching me to slay my hair and makeup! And to @carlosbuendiajr, the man behind my walk ?? I love you all!!!

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When encountering a lifestyle that is radically different from your own, it is easy to fall into the trap of having a myopic world view. Catriona realized early on that each individual has a unique combination of ideas and personal history. Sadly, there is a natural social pressure to submerge these differences beneath the impulse to conform. “Sometimes, people think that because this is the culture they know, others should know it too,” she shared. “But, that’s not the way to live in this big, messy, beautiful world that we’re in.” Having been exposed to cultures that are disparate from another enabled her to bring something different to the table, a more tolerant and expansive perspective of the world.

“Obviously, everyone doesn’t fall under one umbrella whether it would be their values, their beliefs, their characteristics, their upbringing,” Catriona revealed, “My background enabled me to have a broader outlook of the how the world works. It gave me a keen mindfulness about where people are coming from and to be considerate about it." 

ALSO READ: Love Actually: Meet Catriona Gray and Clint Bondad, This Quirky Couple Who First Met At An Elevator

Banner image by Kenji Nuñez

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