'A year with purpose': Catriona Gray's final words as Miss Universe 2018
(Philstar.com) - December 9, 2019 - 11:34am

MANILA, Philippines — It was a year with purpose for Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray

Catriona on Monday described her reign in three words: “unforgettable, life-changing and purposeful.”

Before she crowned South Africa's Zozibini Tunzi, Miss Universe 2019, the 25-year-old beauty queen took a final walk onstage moments wearing a blue gown designed by Mak Tumang called “Reflection” at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here is Catriona's final speech: 

“I’ve always believed as women, we have the power to redefine our generation. When we raise our voices together, the words women power become more than just a phrase; they become a movement. I wanted my year to be a reign with purpose. From advocating for quality education for all to raising awareness for HIV/AIDS, I’ve strived to use my words for good.

Thank you to mom and dad for always believing in me. To Paula and Esther, 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 up 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, only directed.”

Earlier, Catriona said she has grown “so much” during her reign as Miss Universe 2018.

“I’ve always had a voice but Miss Universe allowed me to amplify it,” the country’s fourth Miss Universe said.

“We’re given this amazing platform to voice things that we are passionate about, about the things that we care about. Being a volunteer in the slums of Manila really changed my life and gave me purpose. I saw how education has the potential to change the lives of children and also change the lives of their family and therefore a community.”

“I would ask these kids what you want to be when you grow up. So many have said, ‘you know what Cat I want to be a teacher’ and that really did make such an impact on me because they want to be the change that they receive. And I thought that was so magical.”

In an interview with host Steve Harvey, the Bicolana beauty queen advised the candidates to remember what they are representing.

“You know what I would tell them to know what they’re here representing because we women we don’t come out here with the name across our chest. We come here representing a whole country and I want that feeling to fill them with pride and allow them to hold their head high when they come out here and give it their best tonight,” Catriona said.

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