Catriona Gray, the 69th Miss U, and Lots of Bashers: A Short History

What's up with all the flak the former Miss U is getting online?

catriona gray
PHOTO BY Instagram, Twitter / Catriona Gray

( It's no secret that the love for the pageant world runs deep in Filipino culture. And with that love—borderline obsession at times, really—comes some tension, especially during the build-up to the coronation night for the ultimate pageant title: Miss Universe. The 69th Miss Universe has been no different. Amid all the glitz, glam, and pageant diplomacy, some fans have unexpectedly zeroed in on one person: Catriona Gray, Miss Universe 2018.

Candidates from across the globe rocked their national costumes for the Miss Universe on May 14 local time—with our Filipina queen Rabiya Mateo's Victoria's Secret Angel-esque outfit being thoroughly discussed by pageant fans. Mateo went on a short IG live to apologize to those who were disappointed by the costume as there were apparently a lot of last-minute changes to the intricate outfit. 

Gray then swooped in on the comments section stating that Mateo "does not need to apologize!" She commended Mateo for rocking the stage and reminded folks that the National Costume segment is not part of the final scoring for the Miss U crown. 


Also read:
Here's Everything Miss Universe Catriona Gray Said in Miss Universe 2018

So it's clear that Gray is keeping tabs on our current Miss U bet and is throwing support where she can. Still, it seems some pageant fans think that's not enough.

What's with all the flak against Catriona Gray for the 69th Miss Universe?

So the heat really started when the former Miss U posted throwback photos to her IG on May 7. The pics were from when she landed in Thailand to compete at the 2018 run with the post meant to celebrate the upcoming 69th edition. "Shoutout to all the contestants, their teams and families who have helped in allowing each woman to strive for her [Miss Universe] dreams despite the current climate!" wrote Gray, presumably pertaining to the still on-going pandemic. 

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Gray celebrated all the candidates, calling it an "amazing feat" that delegates from around the globe were able to come and represent their countries. She added a "Who are you all cheering for?" at the end—which got some strong answers in the comments. Pageants fans asked the former Miss Universe where her support for the current Philippine candidate, Rabiya Mateo, was. 

catriona gray

catriona gray

Gray then replied to some of the comments saying that she has reached out privately to Mateo; "Not everything is on display on social media," she wrote. She also stressed that the Miss Universe is a "celebration of women from all over the world." 


Then during the National Costumes segment, Gray sparked more waves when she posted her top picks, a selection that did not include Mateo. The glaring absence struck a chord with pageant fans. One replied to her Tweet stating that they don't mind Mateo's national costume not being part of Gray's fave, "[but] for me it is not the time for her to publicise her thoughts as it affects our candidate."

The former Miss U stood her ground though. She tweeted that her picks were "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!"


During the Evening Gown preliminaries, Gray tweeted this cheeky statement pertaining to Mateo's dazzling yellow long dress. Dubai-based Pinoy designer shared on IG that the gown really is inspired by the sun, so she's spot-on, we think. Gray also reiterated her earlier sentiment on the IG post in a new tweet that the delegates flying in at a time like this alone was worthy of praise.

Pageant fans are now divided between Gray's neutrality as a former Miss Universe—her assumed domain, after all, literally has no borders—versus those who are slighted that Gray isn't using her clout to shine the light on Mateo. Through it all, the former Miss Universe is clear that she isn't about to be swayed by the tension on social media. Meanwhile, Mateo has been rocking it at the Miss Universe events in the U.S. and continues to bring it. With all the noise online, the two remain absolute queens.

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