Since her crowning as Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray has been carrying a bulk load of responsibilities. But never did she flinch under the weight.
In her homecoming parade held on February 21, Thursday, Catriona has shown no sign of enervation. Under the heat of the sun was an all smiles beauty queen who was as spirited as the ecstatic crowd, tirelessly gracing the roads of the metro while raising the Philippine flag.
It wasn’t the first time that Catriona embodied the Filipino resiliency. Prior to the actual competition, Catriona was an early favorite for her now-famous slow-mo turn and lava walk. While it seemed an effortless gesture, it didn’t come trouble-free.
Stories of Catriona’s struggle on mastering her iconic signature walk—which required her to glide, sway, and turn slowly with a snap—have made rounds online. In an article published in Manila Bulletin written by Nicole Cordoves, a beauty queen herself and one of Catriona’s pageant mentors, she revealed that the 26-year-old has scoliosis; a medical condition in which the person’s spine is abnormally curved, usually in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape instead of a straight posture.
The back problem, however, was never an impediment for Catriona to slay her way to the crown. Back in the preliminaries, Catriona seemed to have literally carried the nation on her back. Inspired by the diverse Philippine cultures, her ten-kilo national costume was flaunted with a queen-like grace.
Moreover, in an exclusive sitdown interview with veteran journalist Jessica Soho weeks after her coronation, Catriona attested that her health condition might have been blown out of proportion. While it is true that her scoliosis displeased her at times, she was quick to clarify that it never put her in an excruciating pain, nor did it ever make her cry.
“I’ve never seen it as a barrier to what I want to pursue and what I want to do. It’s just a part that makes me unique. It’s something that I’ve had or was diagnosed with at 12 years old, and it only causes me mild discomfort, that’s all,” she tells Soho.
Interestingly, Catriona earned her black belt for a Korean martial art also when she was 12 years old. She had her experience in modelling, singing, and was consistently engaged with outdoor activities, too. True enough, her scoliosis was never a major concern even before her reign.
Nevertheless, her sense of fortitude has inspired the Filipino people, coming out as the fourth Miss Universe of the Philippines, and a scoliosis warrior for some.
The journey continues for Catriona as she returns to where it all began; on February 23, Saturday, the homecoming activities resume at Araneta, Cubao.
Zealous as she always is, expectations remain high for Catriona. But amidst these is her embodiment of the Filipina strength and spirit to help her meet them.
Featured image by Alvin Kasiban.
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