Catriona Gray pays tribute to Stella Araneta, Bb Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray has paid tribute to Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc and its chairperson Stella Araneta, saying she that she expected them to continue to hone "amazing women to represent the country" in international pageants even after BPCI lost the Miss Universe franchise.

Catriona made the statement on on Thursday, December 12, when asked to comment on the non-renewal of the Miss Universe organization with BPCI after 55 years.

"I feel like as time goes on, a lot of different brand expand, they evolve. But I want to pay homage and honor to Stella Araneta and also Bb Pilipinas for the amazing work that they've done for the last 50 plus years," Catriona said after the contract signing of for  upcoming book Conquering Your Universe.

"My experience under them was a very trustful one. I really felt they trusted in my vision and allowed me to represent the Philippines in the best that I could. So it really does feel like an end of an era in a way but I know they will continue being able to really bring amazing women to represent the country," she added.

Bb Pilipinas has sent candidates to the Miss Universe pageant since 1964. It produced 4 winners – Gloria Diaz (1969), Margarita Moran (1973), Pia Wurtzbach (2015), and Catriona. (LOOK BACK: The Binibining Pilipinas legacy through the decades)

EVOLVING BRAND. Catriona says that like any other brand, Bb Pilipinas will continue to send girls to other competitions. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

EVOLVING BRAND. Catriona says that like any other brand, Bb Pilipinas will continue to send girls to other competitions.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

On Monday, December 9, the Miss Universe Philippines group announced that it would now conduct the search for the Philippines' yearly representative. Miss Universe 2011 3rd runner-up Shamcey Supsup was announced as the national director of the group with renowned pageant coach Jonas Gaffud as creative director.

Bb Pilipinas also confirmed that it had lost the Miss Universe crown and that they will still continue to send candidates to the remaining titles under them. 

"BPCI will continue to focus on its charitable initiatives and the staging of the annual Binibining Pilipinas Pageant – the fairest and most prestigious beauty pageant in the country," the group said. 

Tip for new Miss Universe organizers 

During the same event, Catriona was asked for tips she could give to the new group that will handle the Miss Universe brand. 

One of her tips is to ensure the candidates' authenticity especially in the age of social media.

"I feel like they really need to give the girls a lot of opportunity to tell their story in a very authentic way. 'Cause I feel like with us wanting to share more on social media, and wanting to make more content in social media for things like a pageant, it can feel a little manufactured at times," she said.

"And I feel like if you give the girls an opportunity to really share who they are in whatever way...I would love to learn about the girls, why are they there, who are they, what are they passionate about," Catriona added.

VALUES. Catriona says it's a sad reality that there are still people who criticize and make jokes about women of color, referring to the bashing Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi's been getting. Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

VALUES. Catriona says it's a sad reality that there are still people who criticize and make jokes about women of color, referring to the bashing Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi's been getting.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Catriona also defended newly crowned Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi from criticism online about her win. 

"I think that it's a sad reality – there continues to be so much criticism and detracting comments online," Catriona said. "Even me, I've received my fair share of bashing and criticism during my year, during my competition. And it's something we as a people should really question: What are our values?"

"It shouldn't be the victim having to do the action. it should be a question of building up our values to know that's not acceptable," she added. –  Rappler.com