Catriona Gray says she perfected her walk during her weekly “development of the personality” exercises ahead of the election.
(Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images)
Checking her phone during her photo shoot for The Post, Miss Universe Catriona Gray gasped audibly.
Turns out, Tyra Banks had given her a shout-out on Twitter, writing, “Can’t stop thinking about that #LavaWalk.” The supermodel was referring to Gray’s slo-mo runway strut that helped her nab the crown — and went viral.
“She is the mother of wildness,” said Gray of the Banks. “I was totally in the clouds. That was a compliment from her.”
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Since the 25-year-old beauty won the Miss Universe pageant in December, she shot to online stardom. And in the Philippines, where workers receive as much enthusiasm as boxing, Grey has become a national heroine.
Her journey to the Miss Universe pageant began at a young age, but it was not originally her own dream. The brunette beauty grew up in Cairns, Australia. Her father is a retired Scottish engineer and her Filipino mother is an accountant, who himself once auditioned for the Miss Philippines pageant, but didn’t get through to the finals.
Instead, Gray’s mother and her daughter in local modeling contests, and Grey won Little Miss Philippines when she was 5 years old. Still, she said, “I was never interested in pomp and circumstance.”
A fashion photographer in Manila scouted her when she was 13, and Gray began to fly to the Philippines for the summer to do editorials and beauty campaigns.
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“I was an only child and a bit sheltered,” Gray said of her teenage years. But at 17, she decided to take a gap year before you start college and move to Manila, where she was a full-time model and also started volunteering for Young Focus, a charity that focuses on the youth of poverty.
“It was a frustrating time in my life as a young adult, and I just wanted to focus on other people instead of my own situation,” says Gray.
Then she began to take an interest in splendor, after seeing how it has been treated as a national sport in the Philippines.
For the parade, Gray had local designer Mak Tumang create a fiery dress that was modeled after a volcano in the neighbourhood of her mother ‘ s place of residence.
(Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images)
“I saw a lot of parades, demanded attention, and so I thought, what more can I do to draw awareness to the things that I’m passionate about,” says Gray. In 2016, she was one of five women to win Miss Philippines (the queen will represent the country in an international pageant). She was assigned to compete in the Miss World, where she was a finalist.
In January 2018, she won the national election for the second time and was tapped to compete in the Miss Universe pageant. Grey immediately thought of her mother.
“When I was 13 my mother told me, ‘I had a dream that you compete at the Miss Universe election in a red dress and won,” she said. “I knew that I had to wear a red dress.”
And so Gray was the local designer Mak Tumang create a fiery dress that was modeled after a volcano in the neighbourhood of her mother ‘ s place of residence. During her weekly “personality development” exercises, she improved her runway walk, which features a slow-motion twirl. Her pageant coach called the “lava walk.”
“Every Miss Philippines has a signature walk,” Gray said. “And I wanted to showcase our culture.”
As soon as they won, #LavaWalk became a meme, with fans posting their own versions of social media. Vogue even wrote about her ability to bluff.
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On the top of the make child poverty one of its platforms, Grey is also passionate about the Love Itself, a Manila-based organization that deals with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In a country where gay marriage and divorce is illegal, Gray is proud to be an advocate for the LGBT community.
For more, continue reading the original at The New York Post.