She vows to use her stint as Miss Universe focusing on education for the youth and an active campaign on HIV-AIDS awareness
New York – 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray was introduced by Philippine Consul General Claro Cristobal as unmistakeably the tallest and most beautiful Filipino at the meet and greet event at the Philippine Center today. She first had a 30-minute press conference with members of the New York community press before meeting with select enthusiastic leaders at the Kalayaan Hall.
During the presser, Catriona was emphatic on her advocacy for education for poor children and the education campaign for AIDS-HIV. With the rise of HIV-AIDS cases in the Philippines by 19 percent, the reigning Miss Universe who represents the Philippines, has a more relevant and urgent platform to advocate for.
“The campaign is a personal thing for me. HIV-AIDS is a medical condition but we are stigmatized to it. We should treat it as normally as when we have our blood pressures checked, and all other routines,” she emphasized.
Catriona will work with the non-profit organization Love Yourself Philippines in her advocacy for HIV-AIDS screening and testing. Earlier on, Consul General Cristobal said that Catriona has lost a friend to AIDS-HIV, hence her passion for its education campaign.
She will also continue working with Young Focus, which she has worked with for the past three years in providing free education to children in Tondo, a poor neighborhood in Manila. She will also work with various charities in the US to promote education and HIV-AIDS awareness.
Asked how she wanted to be remembered, Catriona replied: “I want to be remembered as someone who has a real advocacy. At the end of the day, I’d like to sleep well because as a person, this is what I wanted to do and be remembered. I like the glamorous side of Miss Universe, but having to do advocacy work is important to me.”
For the upcoming New York Fashion Week, Catriona will grace some fashion houses and will do her famous lava walk. She has made a conscious effort of promoting Philippine textiles and fabrics by wearing Filipiniana or any accessories that shows Philippine ethnic crafts. “It does not encapsulate our entire culture, but it shows various aspects of our traditions and I want to share it. By doing it, I am rediscovering our own culture too.” (Photos by the Philippine Center/Consul Arman Talbo)