Catriona Gray says she does not have ownership of looks and moves that are associated with her, specifically the ones she used during the 2018 Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Universe pageants.
Many Filipino pageant fans have been known for tagging pageant contestants whose style and walk resemble Catriona’s—specifically her slow-mo turn and the high-slit dress she used when she won the Miss Universe pageant in Thailand.
But Catriona said she does not agree with people calling pageant contestants who bear a resemblance to her as “copycats.”
During the virtual press conference for her latest single “Raise Your Flag” on Tuesday, June 1, Catriona said she sometimes sees pageant girls whose clothing or walk may seem like hers. But she said “it is not mine to own.”
“I don't know if I agree with the term of copycat. I understand the resemblance perhaps to my brand, because I was very consistent with the ear cuff and the turns, and the slit in the dress,” she explained. “My brand was very consistent from the nationals to Miss Universe.”
Catriona further explained: “I understand maybe the resemblance in silhouettes, but I don't feel that I can take ownership of the side part, and the slit in the dress, and an ear cuff. It's not mine to own.”
The 27-year-old beauty queen said she understands that joining a pageant and “representing your country and your pageantry” is all about the contestant “wanting to feel her most beautiful and her most empowered and her most confident.”
“So if that is in a style that perhaps she feels that way, then own it,” she said.
The country’s fourth Miss Universe titleholder, Catriona is known for joining the Miss World pageant first before getting the Miss Universe Philippines crown at the Binibining Pilipinas pageant in 2018, and winning the international pageant later that year.
Catriona said submitting her application for Binibining Pilinas was a moment of self-doubt she overcame, since the loss she experienced at the Miss World weighed heavy in her heart at the time.
“And I really gave my heart into that pursuit. I had the hurt of losing,” she said of her Miss World experience.
“And so wanting to then try again, there was so much doubt and fear, na parang, am I going to have a different fate this time? Or was that first experience enough to define this entire opportunity for me. Will I even get in as a candidate? Will I even get the crown of Miss Universe, or will I end up with another title? It was an incredibly humbling experience for me.”
Catriona further explained, “But I realized that, I really felt when I was on stage, when I was given the opportunity to utilize the platform to speak about the things that I care about, I felt like I was meant to be there.”
“And so my heart was searching for that feeling again. So I said, what do I have to lose?”
Reports say Catriona will be a co-host at this year’s Binibining Pilipinas pageant; she did not confirm the news, but said fans should wait for an announcement about her involvement in the beauty tilt soon.
Banner photo from the Miss Universe Organization