Au revior 2016!

Au revoir 2016! A new year signifies a chance to refresh and restart, but one can’t move forward without reflecting back. 

The beginning of a journey, whether it be one of a goal, a career, a milestone or a dream is never easy. At first, everything seems so daunting, because it seems to be so far away. The people you look up to seem to have had such a big head start, unmatchable talents or skills, or a seemingly easy way up. There are so many obstacles to face before you’ve even started…but the reality is: most of your obstacles exist in your head. 2016 for me was a year of overcoming obstacles.

My dad has always told me that “the longest journey starts with a single step” and its glaringly true. 

2016 began with a very frustrated, heavy-hearted Catriona. Along with facing the usual dilemmas that young adulthood flings at you, I was single-handedly supporting my family – a responsibility that I wasn’t prepared for. To add to that I had reached a career roadblock and it seemed that every new opportunity seemed end up with the door closing in my face. I was keeping a strong front but inside I was freaking out (pacing around the room, spontaneous bursting into tears freaking out). My dreams were put on standby because I didn’t have the means to wander from my own responsibilities and the financials to take the risk. I was 22 and I didn’t know what I was doing with my life.

To break away from the pressure that I was under, I turned to charity work. It was unbelievably freeing to have my attention turned away from myself and my situation over to others. And thats when my perspective began to broaden and a path began to materialise. Being around the less fortunate made me realise just how lucky I was and how much I had to be grateful for.

In charity work, you set out to help others – but ultimately you end up helping yourself.

I resurfaced with a burning desire to give back as much as I could. Miss World offered a platform: a way to help these children that I was seeing every week in Tondo, Manila to a larger capacity. I identified with Miss World’s charitable identity and took a leap into the unknown world of Philippine Pageantry. 

What followed was an overwhelming experience of generosity, kindness and endless support. Individuals came into my life who selflessly dedicated and invested their time, resources and skills into my journey. I cried so many times when met with their support – what can I say, I’m a blubberball.

That’s not to say that all my problems went away. Challenges persisted regardless but with faith, prayer and those people offered a hand, I was able to get by and flourish despite my circumstance. Most people only see the result of the beauty pageant. But thats not all that was gained (or lost). Behind the competition was a complete journey of self-discovery, revelation, challenges and faith. 

I became a more understanding, better and a more driven human being  as a result of 2016. I realised that, even though you’re faced with so many obstacles you just need to try, take that first step and persist. Let people help you, because no-one can do it alone. And last of all, never lose faith – in yourself, your future and your purpose. 

Happy 2017 everyone. 
Here’s to being braver than the year before.

Photography: Paolo Pineda
Styling: Reynaldo Santos
MUA: Krist Bansuelo
Hair: Jan Edrosalan
Creative Styling & Editting: Catriona Gray

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  • Erlina
    January 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Jeremiah 29:11
    for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.
    Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.Plans to give you Hope and a Future..

    To Catriona… I admired your positivity. I admired the pureness of your heart and the sincerity of your words.. Thats why we ended up Loving you not only your physical appearance but the Whole you..
    And your journey in Miss World taught us alot of lessons. You taught us alot Cat. And thanks for that. I LOVE You. We love you.

    • Catriona Gray
      January 3, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      One of my favourite passages! Thank you for your kind words! Much love! <3

      • Donille Gozon
        December 17, 2018 at 11:29 am

        It’s 2018 … we witnessed your journey to the crown. And now comments from 2017 . Let them know that we got it! WE WON! PHILIPPINES WON! Miss Catriona Gray .. you are my inspiration and i know one day i will be like you … we love you miss! I love you

    • Trina Louise
      March 20, 2018 at 6:44 am

      And she’s now Miss Universe – Philippines. This is so sentimental.

  • Joseph Shame Japeth Lima-lima
    January 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I was never a fan of beauty pageants until Miss World. You showed the world that there is more to beauty pageants and it is very good and refreshing to have representatives like you who wholeheartedly embody the pageant’s purpose. Kudos for the 3rd Princess finish in Miss World and I can’t wait to see what’s next to my Miss World 2016. ? Love you to bits! And I’m still betting on you! ?

  • Dexter
    January 3, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks Catriona for always inspiring us in everything you do. WE will always be here to support you. Godbless

  • Lizette
    January 3, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    The world (please don’t mind the pun) will be a better place with more people who have your faith, positivity and kind heart. You can never go wrong with kindness. Here’s wishing all your goals and dreams will be fulfilled in 2017 and beyond. I love your blog. You’re the best xx

    • Lizette Navamaratana
      January 2, 2019 at 12:55 am

      It’s been two years since I commented on your blog and look at how far you’ve gone. I’m just happy to have watched your progress the past two years and now you’re Miss Universe. I cheered for you live at The Impact. I met your parents and your boyfriend there too. They’re so humble and gracious. I wouldn’t miss MU’18 for anything and it was such a joy to see you crowned for all your efforts and hard work. Behind every dark cloud is a silver lining. I hope you remember my message to you last April with the earrings. I always knew you’re going to win MU. Everything happens for a reason and in God’s time. Wishing you a Happy And Blessed New Year. I hope 2019 will be an exciting fruitful successful and fulfilling year for you. Stay true to yourself and keep doing what you believe and love. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Good luck in everything you do. You made all 104M of us so proud. I’ll be eagerly awaiting for your updates on IG & FB. God bless you and your family. Much love xx Tita Lizette

  • Yvonne Wabai
    January 4, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Love, love, love! I wish you all the best Catriona. Much love from Kenya.

  • PW Filipinas
    January 4, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    “Just when the CATerpillar thought the WORLD was over, it turned into a B(e)TTERfly! <3 <3 <3

    Keep on burning, shining and radiating positivity on everyone, my dear. We shall always be one with you in your advocacy. Just reach out, call us and we'll be there.

    We love you, and never shall we forget you and all the good things you did for your people and your country. Wishing you all the best moving forward. May this new year bring you good health, good fortune and more happiness than you ever wished for.

    Mabuhay ka, Catriona! We are immensely proud of you.

    Your fan and friend,
    Pageant Watch Philippines

  • Jessica
    January 6, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Happy New Year Cat! Wish you all the best? And Happy 23rd birthday. You’re an inspiration to many, keep your torch burning.???

  • robinasantos
    January 30, 2017 at 10:47 am

    I love you always Catriona. . You’re such an inspiration to us. . Wish you more strength and love to inspire others abd become a torch bearer just like you. . ? You are admired, and will always be.

  • Enrique Rojas
    December 17, 2018 at 11:17 am

    The most beautiful in the contest!!! U really deserve what’s happening to you…u have a big heart and a natural beauty that I’ve never seen before! Congratulations queen! The best for u from Peru love ya!

  • Elmer Espinosa
    December 17, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Congratulation Catriona Gray for winning Miss Universe 2018. Mabuhay!

  • Michelle
    December 17, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Congrats Miss Cat-Elle !!! More success, blessings and crowns for you! Congrats for winning Miss Universe 2018!!!

  • Jon Jon Escala
    December 17, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Congratulations! Ms Universe 2018… You made me and the rest of 100+ milloons Pinoys around the world…sending my family, love and respect to all you do for our country…

  • Jon Jon Escala
    December 17, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Congratulations Ms Universe 2018! Thank you for making me and the rest of the 100+ millions Filipinos around the world proud of our heritage! You’re such an inspiration. Sending you my families love and respect for all the hard work you put into this. Mabuhay ka Catriona Gray!

  • Rosalinda Revelo Almond
    December 17, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I am proud of u Cat..ur are very Amaze ..you make happy and proud our Country Philippines..

  • Jewn Kroos
    December 17, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you for making us proud again as Filipinos. You have made it in your own way and style. Salute to the new Miss Universe.. Congratulations!🇵🇭😍

  • Ruben Suarez
    December 17, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Hi Cat!

    It looks a little lonely over here. Anyway, a much-deserved CONGRATULATIONS to the new Miss Universe! A heartfelt hello to you and all the the best wishes. Well done!

    A fan.

  • Ruben Suarez
    December 17, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Cat!

    It looks a little lonely over here. Anyway, a much-deserved CONGRATULATIONS to the new Miss Universe! A heartfelt hello to you and all the the best wishes. Well done!

    A fan.

  • Lucie marceau
    December 17, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    Congratulations to a sultry win of MU!
    Spread the joy, kindness and Love of God.

  • Dorylyn A. Gadiana
    December 18, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Hi Ms. Universe 2018 <3 so proud of you esp. here in Dumaguete City 🙂 God bless moreeeee <3

  • khaye nario
    December 18, 2018 at 8:12 am

    congrats catriona… you deserve the title… im proud of you

  • Marrie M
    December 18, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I am so touched of how you stood up and now giving hopes..you truly are a very beautiful person inside and out..continue to be of hope and bring the positivity to people..now that you have a bigger platform I wish you good luck..please keep your feet on the ground, bring always gratefulness in your heart and always admire people around you that helps you of who you are now..sorround yourself with people that brings the best in you..your family and your team are fantastic…I like that in your journey them your bring along with you young filipino talents, what a multiplier effects! …indeed, the universe needs someone like you..to give inspirations and hopes..kudos and best of luck❤️🇵🇭💪

  • Anonymous
    December 18, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    you inspire people cat..such a wonderful human being you are.we love you cat….Queen cat 🙂

  • Jacqueline Uy
    December 18, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    You’ve come a long way, Cat. Thank you for raising our flag! Congratulations for the very well-deserved win.

  • Nicole Mayol
    December 18, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    I love you ate cat. You’re always our savior and you conquered and your the best ate cat! And you’re the new miss universe and you’re so beautiful in the lava walk and i appreciate so keep it going ate cat.

  • John Ahmer
    December 19, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Congrats Catriona! an inspiration and well deserved Miss Universe 2018!
    we LAVA you!

  • Lyn
    December 19, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Hi Miss Universe. Thank you for making the Filipino proud. You’re truly an awesome woman

  • sarah
    December 19, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    thank you for inspiring me ms. catriona elisa gray! it helped me a lot

  • Mona
    December 20, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Hey Miss Cat, you probably won’t read my comment but I am reading your post that you wrote from 2016. When you were hopeless, didn’t know what to do and when you were competing at Miss world. Look at you now, Miss Universe proudly crowned. Your story is an inspiration. God bless

  • Anonymous
    December 20, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    Hello Ate Miss Universe Catriona Magnayon Gray!!! Oh my gosh I’m so touch to the words I have read lately and na touch din ako ate sa music video mo na “Were In This Together” Umiyak talaga ako nong pinanood ko yun… Simula nang pinanood kita sa miss universe… Pinag-aralan ko talaga kung ano ang naging bahay mo nong nag Simula ka pa at na inspire talaga ako nang sobra!!! I love music din po at nahihiya talaga ako na mag show up ng talent ko at nong pinanood ko ang storya ng bahay mo na inspire ako ate cat… Maraming-maraming salamat sa pa… And for your Q and A answer in Miss Universe… Sobrang na touch din ako na kahit bata/teen pa lang ako makakagawa

  • Novelynn M. Camporazo
    December 20, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Hi Miss Universe 2018 Ate Catriona Magnayon Gray!!! Magandang Gabi!!! Hi po!!! I’m so thankful sobra na nakilala kita at Hindi po maiwasang umiyak… I love you ate Catriona… Sobra akong na touch sa music video mo na “Were In This Together” nakita ko kung Pano mamuhay ang ibang mga batang kababayan natin… At umiyak talaga akon don… Marami akong natutunan sayo at iyon ang pinakapapasalamatan ko sayo ate… I love music di po kagaya mo… At nahihiya talaga akong ipakita ang talent ko sa buong mundo… Marunong din po akong mag gitara… At na inspire ako sa music life mo at nagkaroon ako ng confidence na ipakita ang sarili ko at mag step out ako in my comfort zone… At nong pinanood kita sa Miss Universe noong lunes (December 17,2018)… Sobrang ganda ng sagot mo ate… Na inspire din ako don at Marami talaga akong natutunan sayo… Isa sa natutunan ko na kahit bata/teen pa lang ako ay may kaya na akong gawin para sa bayan… And thank you so much for that ate Cat!!!! Malaki din ang impact sa life ko yung… Sinabi ng dad mo na “The Longest Journey starts with a single step” at nong narinig ko yung words na yun…. Oh my gosh thank you lord sa pag help mo sakin… At di pa huli ang lahat na maipakita ko sa mundo Kong Anu ang kaya ko… 14 pa lang ako ngayon ate Catriona at salamat sa pag inspire mo sakin!!!! Hindi ko alam Kong Pano ka pasasalamatan. Sobrang thank you talaga… Ang ganda mo sobra at sana makita kita not now but sana soon… At sana follow back mo ko sa twitter and instagram… Yan na lang Christmas wish ko… Ehehehehhh… Ulit maraming-maraming salamat ate Cat and thank you for your life… I’m so greatful na kababayan kita at nakilala kita… I will pray for you always!!!! God bless to you for your new beginning and for your new journey, for your the coming new opportunities, we are just here… We will support you always!!! I love you ate Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray!!! My great kababayan… Ang swerte ko talaga na ako ay isang PILIPINO… Gusto Kong sumigaw na proud ako na ako ay isang Pilipino!!! God bless to you and to your family!!! I will pray for you always!!! God bless, Merry Christmas and Have a blessed-greatful New Year!!! I Love You Ate Catriona from Your Little Best Friend And Proud Kababayan from La Carlota City Negros Occidental!!!! Mwuahhh!!!! God bless and Have a great Day!!!

  • Gabriel Donato
    December 21, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Hi ms. Catriona I just want you to know that I had been stunned since that Sprite commercial and I had been looking for your name since then. And now you had boom the whole world by winning the Ms.Universe and I had finally knew you. Congratulations. You are attractive and kind as ever.

    P.S how did you manage to create a site like this Please teach me..

  • Hazel
    December 22, 2018 at 10:36 am

    Hi Cat! Been following your journey from Miss World to Miss Universe. And as the song goes, “God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind, so when you don’t understand, when you don’t see HIS plan, when you can’t trace HIS hand, trust HIS heart!” He has indeed better plans for you! Praying for HIS guidance during your reign as this year’s Miss Universe!

  • Cha Ramos
    December 23, 2018 at 12:25 pm

    Congratulaions to our Miss Universe 2018, the ever stunning Catriona Gray! Thank you for making us all proud and you inspire us to be the best version of ourselves. May God bless you with all the good things and happiness in your life. We love you so much!

  • Jerome
    December 23, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    And amazingly enough look how you’ve managed to vindicate yourself through your sentiments offered one short year and change later with the stellar heights you’ve catapulted yourself to with your Miss Universe coronation triumph. Thanks for yours touching words of inspiration and unparalleled wisdom and may you continue to flourish and prosper in your life, I can’t help but root for someone like you.

  • Anonymous
    December 24, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    We love you, Ms. Universe 2018!!! <3

  • Anonymous
    December 24, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Miss Universe 2018! <3 love love!

  • Vincent A.
    December 26, 2018 at 10:35 am

    2018 is now your year Ate Cat! Congratulations. You are well deserved. ♡

  • Pauline Valdepenas
    January 1, 2019 at 2:47 am

    Congratulations! Miss Universe 2018

  • Lizette M Navamaratana
    January 5, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    It’s been two years since my last comment. From 2017 and now 2019 look where you are now! All your hard work paid off. I never stopped believing in you. No more dark clouds but just clear skies ahead. Always stay true to yourself. Live your life the way way you love it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We 104M Filipinos are so proud of you. I cheered for you live from the Impact. It was a joy to see you triumph and crowned. Enjoy New York and Good Luck on your Misss Universe reign. You’re going to be the best one yet xx

  • Thryza Mae Cumigad
    January 6, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    You are so beutiful in and out. You are such an inspiration not just to me but to all filipino people! Omg! I love tou cat! ❤️❤️❤️

  • CIndy
    January 9, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Hi Cat,

    Being Miss Universe must be so hectic but I hope you can still continue your blogging. You never know how I enjoyed reading your carefully chosen words and of course your beautiful smile and face, your choice of clothing
    is unreal, and the inspiration that comes with it – its remarkable. I feel your heart. I miss Philippines, but your CAT’ELLE made feel home.

    Just one of your 4 million fans,