FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE
SHE WAS A MATHS AND SCIENCE WHIZ AT SCHOOL, BUT CAIRNS-BORN COVER GIRL CATRIONA GRAY IS NOW WOWING JUDGES ON THE CATWALK AT MISS WORLD PHILIPPINES
“Since 2007 they have been providing free and accessible education to the youth of Tondo, but their current facilities can only cater to so many. As a result, many children miss out on the chance of an education.”
Catriona’s answer was Paraiso: The Bright Beginnings Project.
She recently held a benefit concert and continues to fundraise for the purchase and renovation of a building so it can become a new preschool and childcare centre.
“By giving these people the opportunity to make a life for themselves in the workplace, and not in the trash dumps of Manila, hopefully they can eventually support their families and poverty in Tondo can come to an end,” she says.
An early favourite in Miss World Philippines, Catriona has remained a clear frontrunner with all the pageant pundits.
“Still leading our list is fashion and commercial model Catriona Gray,” Pageant forum Missosology Philippines said last week.
“She has already cemented her spot as the girl to beat after winning the Miss Hannah’s World Philippines award during the candidates’ sojourn in Ilocos Norte.
“With a golden voice ready for talent rounds, runway experience, and an advocacy for her Beauty With A Purpose project, Catriona is Miss World bound!”
Towering above other contenders at 1.76m, and by no means unlucky as contestant No 13, Catriona also took home four of six awards at last week’s Charity Gala Night and Fashion Runway Competition, including Miss Talent.
Flying in for Sunday’s final are the reigning Miss World, Mr World and Miss World owner Julia Morley — a first for the event.
If crowned Miss World Philippines, she will give Australia and the Far North a second contender in this year’s Miss World pageant.
Among the approximately 120 contestants competing in Washington in December will be Madeline Cowe of Tully, crowned Miss World Australia in July.
Catriona may be genetically blessed, but she still considers herself an everyday Aussie girl who loves the outdoors, enjoys a good steak and has a laid back, “no worries” attitude.
A Black Belt in Choi Kwang Do, she enjoys sketching, painting, photography and cooking, and is remembered by her school as a maths and science scholar with a bright future.
The only child of Ian and Mita Gray, Catriona says the three are extremely close and is thankful they have joined her in Manila.
“Not only are they my role models, they are my best friends. I really missed being able to see them. They are very supportive of my latest endeavour and I’m so happy that they can share this journey with me.”
To find out more or donate to Catriona’s Bright Beginnings Project, visit cat-elle.com/ paraiso online.