Reigning Miss Universe Catriona Gray will make her first ever visit to the UAE on September 19, Gulf News tabloid! can exclusively reveal. Gray, who is the fourth Filipina to win the coveted crown, has a packed schedule during her three-day visit, including a meet-and-greet with fans at BurJuman mall and a charity gala in Dubai.
Here’s everything we know about her visit:
What’s her schedule?
On her first day, September 19, Gray will attend a fashion night at BurJuman mall, which will feature 10 Dubai-based designers showcasing their latest collections. The free-to-attend event will also offer a chance for fans to meet the beauty queen in person. The event is set to start at 6pm.
On September 20, Gray will attend an Xpedition Annual Gala Award hosted by the Dubai-based Xpedition Magazine that will also help raise funds for Smile Train, a charity that provides corrective surgery for children with cleft lips and palates. Gray will also be honoured that evening as Woman of the Year and will help unveil the latest issue of Xpedition Magazine featuring her as the cover star. The ticketed event, to be held at the Grand Millenium Hotel in Al Barsha, will include a three-course dinner, with a portion of the proceeds going to Smile Train. Tickets prices are yet to be revealed but more information is available on xagadubai.com.
On her final day, Gray will go on a tour of Dubai city, the itinerary for which is strictly condifential.
Who is Catriona Gray?
The reigning Miss Universe is a model and singer. Born in Queensland, Australia, to a Scottish father and Filipina mother, Gray was crowned Miss Universe 2018 at the pageant held in Thailand, becoming the fourth beauty queen from the Philippines to win the title. She is a formally-trained musician and was a lead singer of her school’s jazz band. She's also a trained Choi Kwang Do martial artist and earned her black belt when she was 12. Before her 2018 win, Gray was already an established model in the Philippines, appearing in various commercials and magazines before the pageant bug bit. She’s also big on charity. Even before she became a globally-known beauty queen, Gray has been advocating for HIV/AIDS awareness and worked with the charity Young Focus, which aims to give underprivileged children better opportunities. She even released a single ‘We’re In This Together’ in November 2018 to benefit Young Focus.
This is not her first rodeo
Gray’s interest in pageants started early. She competed in her first for the title of Little Miss Philippines pageant in Sydney at the of five. She’s also the first beauty queen from the Philippines to represent the country at both the Miss World and Miss Universe pageants. Gray was crowned Miss World Philippines in 2016 and finished in the Top 5 in international pageant.
“The question most of you are asking is if I’m okay and I can securely say that I am. Miss World was never just a beauty contest to me,” she posted on Instagram right after the pageant. “The crown represented a journey, one that grew from being an independent endeavour to one that became more than me. A journey that rallied the support of my countrymen. A journey that forced me to look into myself and discover what I was made of.”
Not one to give up easily, Gray enlisted for Binibining Pilipinas, the organisation that sends the Philippines’ representative to the Miss Universe pageant. She went on to win that title, and the rest is history.
Why is she in the UAE?
The 25-year-old’s visit ties in with her appearance on the cover of the Dubai-based Xpedition Magazine.
“I’m so excited to be the cover girl for Xpedition Magazine for the month of September. See you on your side of the world soon!,” Gray said in a statement.
Josh M Yugen, the producer and CEO of Xpedition and Yugen Group said: “Catriona Gray raised the flag of the 104 million Filipinos all over the world and on behalf of Yugen Group, we are humbled to bring the reigning Miss Universe to our beloved city of Dubai as the icon of hope and the voice of several purposeful causes.”