Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray was born in Queensland, Australia on January 6, 1994. The last name Gray came from her Australian father who is of Scottish descent, Ian Gray. Her mother is a Filipina named Normita Ragas Magnayon. Catriona is a model, singer and an international beauty pageant winner. She is the 4th Filipina to win the Miss Universe beauty pageant in 2018. She became an inspiration for Filipinos around the world. Aside from being a Miss Universe titleholder, Catriona is also a patron of helping the less fortunate communities in the Philippines.
Catriona started her advocacy at age 22. “It started because I wanted to make my life more than myself,” Catriona mentioned in her interview with Filipino TV. As she entered the pageantry, she simultaneously used her platform to educate the importance of assisting impoverished cities in the Philippines. “I found the charity that I am really connected to and it is called Young Focus. It is located in Tondo, Manila. Some of you guys don’t know, Tondo is one of the largest garbage collecting areas in the city. It is very heartbreaking,” Catriona added. As she walked through the slums of Tondo for the first time, she was shocked and could not process what she was seeing in the poverty-stricken city.
In 2020, Catriona Gray partnered with Young Focus, a charity focused on providing education to youth in need and financially aiding their family. The purpose of the “No Work-No Pay-No Rice” initiative was to feed families in the Smokey Mountain area of Tondo who were affected by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Catriona’s Instagram, She successfully raised 5 million pesos and distributed about 100,000 kilograms of rice to thousands of families in the city.
In addition to her crusade, Catriona introduced Young Focus’s Quality Education for All initiative. Since the outbreak, education all over the world has migrated online. Many Filipino youths in vulnerable areas having an electronic gadget or internet are practically out of reach and may even seem inconceivable. Her goal is to raise 1 million pesos to put up two computer centres, fit with social distancing barriers and hand-washing and sanitizing stations, and help them continue their education.
Catriona Gray’s mantra is- “You give kindness wherever you go.” She leads by example in showing the world how an ordinary human being can change someone’s life by simply trying to support them. With all that she has done & continues to do, one can indeed say, Catriona Gray is truly beautiful inside out.