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Catriona Gray on insecurities, her mom and social media |

Sunday Lifestyle

Catriona Gray on insecurities, her mom and social media

10 THINGS - Bianca Gonzalez - The Philippine Star
Catriona Gray on insecurities, her mom and social media
Fourth crown! So lucky to have interviewed and taken a photo with our new queen a few days before she left for the pageant. Congratulations, Queen @catriona_gray. What a super well-deserved win for one of the most prepared queens we have ever had. (The author posted this on Instagram.)
Photos by Philip Rojas

‘Don’t compare your unfiltered reality to the filtered world of social media — because we’re always going to fall short,’ says the Philippines’ fourth Miss Universe, Catriona Gray. 

I’m constantly trying to redefine what being a beauty queen is,” Catriona Gray casually shared during a panel discussion at the She Talks Asia conference last September. Back then, we didn’t fully grasp just how much she meant that, but as we’ve all seen with how intentionally planned every step of her Miss Universe journey was — from her daily outfits showcasing Filipino culture to her videos taking us around the country — we see this very statement come to life. She speaks from the heart; nothing is just rehearsed or put on, as some might think beauty queens to do.

Here are 10 life lessons we can learn from our new Miss Universe, Catriona Gray.

1. On making big life decisions: Ask yourself, “What would I do today if I didn’t care what other people thought? What would I do if I didn’t have that fear?”

“It’s very humbling to go from being a queen back to a competitor,” Catriona said during an Olay interview I did with her about taking that fearless first step into joining Binibining Pilipinas. “I was Miss World Philippines two years prior. But (this time) I was on equal footing with everyone else. I really had to step up my game because the expectations of people were so high. It was a lot of internal dialogue that was happening inside my mind.”

2.  On taking on new goals: “I think the funny thing about life is that every time you plan, it always ends up somewhere completely different.”

 “Being a beauty queen was never on my radar. My mom was a huge fan of Miss Universe ever since I was a little girl,” Catriona says. “I was doing volunteer work for a charity at that time, and one of my good friends, Valerie Weigmann, joined. And that was my first exposure to the pageant world. I saw that as a model, this is how much I can do for my charity. But as a beauty queen, you have the potential to reach more people, to get that much more awareness — that’s really what started me on this path.”

“Some people think that confidence is something that some people just have.”

 3. On her definition of beauty: “It’s not so much about being perfect, but more of a feeling you get from a person.”

“I grew up as an only child and I was really close to my mother. When you’re a little girl, your mom is your role model. She’s not a supermodel, but I find her so beautiful. When she smiles, she makes everyone in the room smile. She has that ability to just bring life to a room. I associate that with beauty.”

 4. On insecurities: “We have this dilemma where every day, women and men are reaching for something that we can’t obtain.”

“I think so many people have this perception that these beautiful models and artistas who always look so well put-together don’t have insecurities. Like they don’t wake up some days and feel ‘blah,’ or they don’t wish they could fit into a certain dress or jacket, but they do,” she says. “Myself — and I’ve met so many people — we have a lot of insecurities. We’re always thinking that, ‘If I just looked like this or that, I would be happy, I won’t feel insecure,’ but that’s not true.”

 5. On confidence: “Confidence is not something that is defined by how I feel.”

“Some people think that confidence is something that some people just have. Even though I may look confident strutting in a two-piece on a stage, there are days when I’m so nervous, or I feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t know if I can do this.’”

6. On being judged by others: “There may be people judging you, but that’s not all you are.”

“When you’re a beauty queen, you’re literally being judged. I mean, all of us are judging each other, but I actually am on stage getting judged by judges. I don’t want other people to define what I am and what I do. Even though my label is that of a beauty queen, I’m not going to limit myself to that, just because that’s my title,” she says.

“Judgment in the form of hate comments will always hurt. No matter how confident you are and no matter how much you love yourself, it’s still hard to take. And that’s completely okay. You can get affected, but don’t let it have that lasting effect on you. Don’t let it make you question yourself.”

7. On the importance of self-care: “Invest that time in yourself, to make yourself feel good.”

“I really got everything out of the way in the first few months (after winning Binibini). Like wardrobe, gowns, national costume, so that was all done,” Catriona shared days before the pageant. “Right now, it’s just really about pampering myself; I want to be in a good mental space, I think it’s so important. Making sure I get enough sleep, making sure I pamper my skin, and hair, so that I’m glowing, eating well so that my energy is there. There’s something that’s pampering about doing a routine for yourself, that time you spend every day just for yourself.”

‘‘My biggest fears (leading up to the pageant)? I don’t want to lose my being grounded.”

 8.On staying focused despite the noise around you: “I really try to block out people that aren’t in my core.”

What were Catriona’s biggest fears leading up to the pageant? “I didn’t want to lose my being grounded. When everything’s going crazy, it’s really hard to stay grounded and to stay mentally present. We have a tendency to get pulled away with, like, the motion of the ocean. In the setting of a competition, where there’s so much pressure, I just want to rely on my team. When you’re highly emotional, if they’re going to give you criticism, they know how to phrase it, how to say it. Whereas on social media, it will just come across as, ‘Ay, ang pangit ng damit niya.’ I wouldn’t be able to take anything positive out of that. Having my core there, that’s what really helps me be fearless in what I have to do. Everyone needs a support system.”

9. On using social media: “Don’t compare your unfiltered reality to the filtered world of social media — because we’re always going to fall short.”

“Know how much effort goes on behind the scenes to make a beautiful picture,” she says. “It’s easy to see a beautiful woman, nicely styled clothes, nice lighting, on a holiday in Paris, with a beautiful flatlay of food. It’s like saying she’s going to eat that whole thing and still look like that. It takes a team of people, or lights, or editing software, all that to make that moment look effortless.”

10. On the fear of what other people will say about you: “Not everyone knows the length and the depth of your personal journey.”

“No one knows what you’ve been through, your experiences. So their judgment cast upon you is just a shallow perspective. They don’t know what you’re fully capable of. So why will you take their judgment to define everything that you are?”

*   *   *

For those asking, yes, Catriona has guested on #PaanoBaTo and she gives really solid advice about pursuing your passion. Search for the video on my YouTube page.

Message the author @iamsuperbianca

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