The country's pride Catriona Gray concluded her reign as Miss Universe 2018 with a heart filled with both gratefulness for the fruitful year that passed and hopefulness for what lies ahead.
The Filipino-Australian beauty relinquished her crown and title at the pageant’s coronation night held December at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.
Right after the swimsuit competition, Catriona went on stage and had a short moment with Steve Harvey. The pageant's host then asked the beauty queen how she was, to which she replied:
"I am feeling really emotional actually. I'm seeing all the girls and remembering... Wow! It was just a year ago that I was in their shoes and now, being in front of you all, knowing that another amazing woman's life is going to change tonight.”
Steve also asked Catriona for the advice she could give to all the candidates who were competiting for the crown that night.
"You know what, I would tell them to know what they are here representing," the Filipina Miss Universe responded. "Because we women, we don't come out here with our names across our chest. We come here representing a whole country. And I want that feeling to fill them with pride and allow their head high when they come out here and give their best tonight.”
Before crowning her successor, Catriona strutted on the Miss Universe stage wearing the blue Mark Tumang gown that’s been dubbed as 'Alon' as it took inspiration from the Philippines’ beautiful waters.
In her speech, which was played as a voice over as she was making her final walk onstage, Catriona emphasized that women empowerment can be achieved through collective efforts.
"I always believe, as women, we have the power to redefine our generation. When we raise our voices together, the words woman power is more than just a phrase. They become a movement."
Catriona, whose main advocacy is dedicated to children's welfare, also recalled some of her other advocacies that became her focus during her entire Miss Universe reign.
"I wanted my year to be a reign with purpose. From advocating for quality education for all, to raising awareness to HIV and AIDS...I've strived to use my voice for good."
Catriona also thanked all those who supported her pageant journey and encouraged everyone to keep on reaching for their dreams.
"Thank you to Mom and Dad for always believing in me, Paula and Ester for your mentorship, the Miss Universe Organization, and to Team Catriona, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
"And to my beloved Philippines, isang karangalan po ito. You endlessly inspire me and give me hope. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.
"Above all, thank you God. I lift everything to glorify and honor you.
"As I close this chapter, I do so with a grateful heart.
"To everyone with a dream, know that your dreams are valid. And on your path, you are never denied and only redirected."
The Filipina beauty queen then eventually crowned Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa.