Catriona Gray shares success formula, reacts to alleged âcopycatsâ
Amanda Obdam, Miss Universe Thailand 2020 competes on stage as a Top 10 finalist in an evening gown of her choice during the 69th Miss Universe Competition® on May 16, 2021 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida; Catriona Gray takes her final walk as Miss Universe 2018 during the Miss Universe competition on December 8, 2019 live from Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
MUO/Tracy Nguyen, Frank L Szelwach

Catriona Gray shares success formula, reacts to alleged ‘copycats’

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo (Philstar.com) - June 10, 2021 - 6:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — Last month, while the Miss Universe 2020 pageant was in full swing, Miss Universe Thailand 2020 Amanda Obdam went viral for donning an evening gown that Internet users compared to the farewell gown Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray wore when she passed on her crown at Miss Universe 2019.

Amanda’s Oat Couture-made, long-sleeve ensemble was inspired by crystal-clear ocean waves, while Catriona’s Mak Tumang opus channeled the Philippine eagle. 

In a recent virtual press conference for her single “R.Y.F,” Catriona shared her thoughts on what Internet users deemed as her pageant “copycats.”

“My branding has been consistent with my national costume in Miss Universe. I only see maybe some semblance in silhouettes, but I don’t feel I can take ownership of the side part or the slit of the dress. You know what I mean? It’s not mine to own,” she told Philstar.com and other press in the virtual conference.

According to her, she does not mind if other candidates, even from other countries, try to emulate her.

“And I also know, in the journey of representing your country in pageantry, it is always about the girl wanting to feel like in her most beautiful and her most empowered and her most confident. So if it’s a style that perhaps she feels that way, then own it!”

For Catriona, it should not be taken against a candidate if the contestant's look is similar to hers or other past queens.

“And it doesn’t make it a disadvantage. People may reckon that, ‘Oh, that’s a similar dress!’ But each girl has her own journey and if that style makes her feel beautiful and confident, and who are we to say that it affects their journey? Because it’s their decision, eh, it’s their journey and how they wish to portray themselves.”

Apart from her outfits, pageant fans also noticed that many candidates after her assumingly tried to mirror her iconic Lava Walk.

According to her, anyone is free to walk in any way they like. What matters is they work hard like she does.

“Being onstage in pageantry, I didn’t walk like that five years ago. It was something I had to learn step by step. And it’s something like that in every career.”

Her formula for success, may it be in pageants or anywhere else, is not just a winning wardrobe or walk but “Preparedness plus opportunity equals success.”

This, she said, entails talking to people in the field and seeking for their advice. 

“You find that people are more than happy to pass on their wisdom and knowledge to someone and be a mentor to someone.”

She also recommended higher education through free online resources or books. This could be especially helpful for pageant candidates at the Question and Answer portion.

From being the anthem for her Miss Universe journey, she hopes that her “R.Y.F” (Raise Your Flag) version, whose lyrics has been tweaked by her with help from ABS-CBN’s Star Music and CS Music, would also turn out to be anyone’s fight song.

“If you see discrimination happening in your workplace, in your friends group, in your own circle, you can stand up from that as a person or have an opportunity to educate where that discrimination is coming from,” the beauty queen-singer said of her single now available in various music streaming services.

“I’m all for standing up for something but I’m also up for starting a conversation because that's where we’ll all move forward together.”

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