Catriona Gray lauds Rabiya Mateo's Miss Universe 2020 preliminaries performance

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray Leandicho, file

MANILA, Philippines — Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray showed her admiration to the country’s Miss Universe 2020 bet Rabiya Mateo after the preliminaries earlier today. 

In her Instagram account, Catriona said she is proud that Rabiya showed everyone that she is the sun. 

“Our girl literally said, 'no sun in my natcos? I am the sun',” Catriona wrote, adding heart emojis and the hashtag “#AribaRabiya.”

Catriona also commended other teams in participating in the competition despite the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Also considering all these delegates were able to fly all the way to the US from their respective countries, kudos to all their teams and designers for allowing them to perform their best despite the challenges and the current global climate,” she said. 

Catriona received a lot of criticism yesterday after she did not include Rabiya among her top picks for the National Costume competition. 

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“Indonesia, Nepal, Peru, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam were my Top 6 @missuniverse National Costumes. Who were yours?” Catriona posted on Twitter. 

She, however, explained that her choices for national costume were based on her liked costumes and not on candidates' performance. 

"My best in National Costume picks are my favorite National Costumes, not based on the candidates performance. I love the celebration of culture and a country's expression of identity which is why its one of my favorite segments!" she explained.

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