The Philippines’ Catriona Gray was named Miss Universe 2018 on Monday, besting contestants from 93 other countries and delighting her home nation.
Gray wore a sparkling red dress she said was inspired by a volcano in the Philippines as she was handed the crown to the delight of a roaring crowd in Bangkok that generally favored Southeast Asian contestants.
The 24-year-old singer and model said she wore red because “when I was 13 my mom said she had a dream that I would win Miss Universe in a red dress.” She said her mom cried when they saw each other after she won the competition, the 67th Miss Universe pageant.
Gray edged out first runner-up Tamaryn Green of South Africa and third-place Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela. She succeeds Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa.
“My heart is filled with so much gratitude,” Gray said. “There were moments of doubt where I felt overwhelmed and I felt the pressure.”
Gray’s father is Australian, and she was born and grew up in Cairns, Australia. She studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.