This is an excerpt of this month’s cover story on Catriona Gray and how beauty queens should never be afraid to speak up.
It’s the most glamorous time of the year again as pageant season kicks into high gear. Catriona urges upcoming pageant hopefuls to use their platforms for good. “There’s so much potential for women this year to stand up for something. It doesn’t have to be radical, just be linked to personal experience. What do they care about, what are they passionate about, what do they wanna see as a change?” she shares, adding, “It represents an opportunity for our representatives to show what they can be, not as a beauty queen, but as a Filipino in a time of trial.” She says that we’re all on social media “looking for hope” adding.
Her advice to the next generation, “to stand up as role models,” is something she also took to heart throughout her reign and beyond, even if doing so meant upsetting some people along the way. Just last year, Catriona was swept in a torrent of unwanted social media attention when her work advocating for women was taken maliciously. “Please don’t ever allow your voice to be silenced. You never know [whose] life may be impacted by your words,” she wrote bravely on Instagram.
The situation only cemented her desire to speak out onbehalf of women — whether that’s through a quick mental health check-in, much needed during the pandemic, or by releasing statements including urging lawmakers to change the age of consent from 12 years old to at least 16. Although while she realizes that social media can be a powerful tool for good, she also knows it’s a double-edged sword, saying, “We need to be careful with the information we digest and put out. Fake news or information that’s twisted can be very, very damaging.” She also maintains, “We need to educate ourselves on how to conduct ourselves with respect online,” saying that respect often found in person-to-person interaction is usually lost when using technology. Don’t worry, not all social media bogs her down. She particularly likes YouTube for “all things interior” to equip her through her first home renovation, and TikTok, her “feel-good” “blackhole” app, for cleaning hacks, makeup transitions, and music riff challenges.
Though she doesn’t plan on stepping down from her role as woman’s advocate anytime soon, she is ready to change careers and focus on something she’s “always been passionate about”: music. She’s been keeping busy creating new music. It comes out “soon,” she promises, though the number of songs and her collaborators are still hush-hush.
Photography JERICK SANCHEZ
Creative direction JANN PASCUA assisted by NICOLE ALMERO
Fashion direction and styling LYN ALUMNO assisted by CLARISSE FURIO
Beauty Direction TRINA EPILEPSIA BOUTAIN
Makeup JELLY EUGENIO
Hair BRENT SALES
Production Design TIPPING POINT COLLECTIVE
Shoot Coordination ERICA LUNA and LOUIS ESGUERRA
Special thanks to CORNERSTONE ENTERTAINMENT, ERICKSON RAYMUNDO, JEFF VADILLO, LIZ ALVAREZ
Discover the full Louis Vuitton FW21 and Capucines Collections when the LV Philippines flagship store opens in October 2021 at Greenbelt 3.