This just in: Catriona Gray is our Miss Universe 2018! On December 17, the Fil-Aussie bested 93 other candidates in Thailand to bring the coveted crown back to the Philippines.
In the years leading up to the competition, we’ve learned bits and pieces about her. We know, for instance, how she’s very passionate about charity work. At 22, Catriona got involved with Young Focus, an organization that aids children living in the slums of Tondo, Manila. We also know she’s a pageant veteran. Catriona brought her advocacy and modelling A-game to Miss World 2016, where she landed in the Top 5. In our exclusive interview with the kween, we also realized that’s there’s even more to the stunner than meets the eye.
1. She holds a black belt in Choi Kwang-Do. Catriona just showed us she’s tough to beat in the pageant world. But who knew she could literally kick butt too? Our Miss Universe 2018 got into karate when she was just eight. By the time she turned 12, she already had a black belt. Rather than to engage it fights, Catriona likes how it helps her know “what to do in situations where someone’s coming at you or how to block and get out of someone’s way.”
[related: Fitness Inspo: Did You Know Catriona Gray Is Also A Legit Martial Artist?]
2. Less is more when it comes to her makeup. Catriona’s job requires her to wear a lot of product. But her preferences are very practical, and very true to her natural look. “My go-to's are eyelash curler and mascara…it makes your eyes look awake,” she says. And like many Filipinas, kilay is life. “I love fluffy brows! Brow gel is my favorite thing in the world.” The last among makeup must-haves? Cream blush. “It just makes you look flushed and sinks in your skin!”
3. Despite her picture-perfect complexion, she’s not immune to skin problems. “I have an oily t-zone,” she confesses. “What I struggle with really is that time of the month. I get breakouts, especially around my jaw. If I haven’t cleaned off all of my makeup off my face, I'll break out from residue makeup. Also, I constantly have to powder because it gets shiny. I have this spray bottle toner so I spritz it on, I put on some moisturizer, (and) if I remember I'll put sunscreen. That’s it.”
[related: In Focus: Why Catriona Gray's Beauty Mentor Jelly Eugenio Thinks She Deserves This Win]
4. Her personal style is very conservative. To us viewers, Catriona wore that sexy lava-inspired number by Mak Tumang with winning confidence. And who can forget her pink cut-out piece from the swimsuit portion? While her line of work requires a lot of skin baring, the 24-year-old insists that even a two piece gives her anxiety. “It's still something I have to overcome—the the feeling of, ‘Oh my gosh I will really put myself out there.’ People always think that beauty queens have no reservations or whatever about that stuff. But when it comes to fashion, I'm not very big on the crop-tops and super low-cuts…or super midriff and super plunging stuff.” That said, she’s all for feeling good with what you wear and dressing for your body type.
[related: Hot Stuff: Catriona Gray’s Incredible Smarts Might Have A Lot To Do With Her Love For Reading!]
5. She values mindfulness. One of Catriona’s favorite books is The Power Of Now because it talks about being present in the moment. She often practices it while travelling and when alone. “I like a very high level of self-awareness. It's part of my personality,” she explains. “Actually, I’m a shy type (but) I like observing people. At home I always need to ask myself how I’m feeling because I’m sympathetic. I feel what other people feel, sometimes in myself. ”
[related: Hot Stuff: Bicolana Catriona Gray's Red, Hot Evening Gown Took Inspiration From Mayon Volcano!]
6. She’s got a bae! And his name Clint Bondad. Clint is a Filipino-German actor, model, and entrepreneur. They met by chance in an elevator in 2012 and starred in a commercial for a major telco company in the Philippines. Since she started competing in beauty pageants, he’s been nothing but supportive to his queen. “He will just sit through all of my rants or my tears. He’s always very selfless,” she gushes. Catriona also appreciates how having him prevents her from experiencing breakdowns on her own. “He lets me process (a problem) to him, no matter how lengthy it may be. He sees everything I go through (and) because (of) the way I process things, I need to air them out. He’s like my punching bag.”
ALSO READ: Hot Stuff: A First In History, Miss U Tasks An All-Female Judging Panel—Including Two Proud Pinays!
Photos courtesy of Miss Universe