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Miss Universe Philippines Catriona Gray was crowned as Miss Universe 2018 at Impact, Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok, Thailand, on December 17, Monday.

Catriona Gray of the Philippines waves to the audience after being crowned the new Miss Universe 2018 on December 17, 2018 in Bangkok. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

The 24-year-old Bicolana is an HIV/AIDS advocate at Love Yourself PH and volunteers as a Teacher’s Assistant to the students of Young Focus International, an organization dedicated to helping children and poor communities in Tondo, Manila. Gray also released a song entitled “We’re In This Together” for the said organization. She also has Master Certificate in Music Theory.

The final three — Philippines, South Africa, and Venezuela— were asked: “What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life, and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?” Gray answered the question confidently.

“I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila and the life there is very poor, sad and I’ve always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look in the beauty of the children and be grateful. I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson.

“If I could teach people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster and children would have smiles on their faces,” Gray said.

Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green is first runner-up, and Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutiérrez won the second runner-up. This is the Philippines fourth Miss Universe crown.

Header image by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP

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