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TRANSCRIPT: Miss Universe 2018 opening statements, Q&A, final word

TOP 20. The 20 semi-finalists were asked to share a 15-second statement about themselves.

Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA/AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The top finalists of Miss Universe 2018 took to the stage to express their thoughts during the "opening statements" and Q&A segments of the finals. The coronation happened on Monday, December 17, at Bangkok, Thailand.

The opening statements had the Top 20 ladies share a statement on what they wanted the world to know.

 This is what they had to say:

Tamaryn Green (South Africa)

As a medical student and tuberculosis survivor, a disease that kills millions of people every year, I’m one of the lucky few to survive. I’m able to tell my story through my hashtag #BreakTheStigma campaign. I hope I can encourage everyone out there who’s facing any adversity or challenge to speak up about their story.
 
Catriona Gray (Philippines)

Working in some of the poorest areas of my country, I found that it was a lack of child support, not poverty, that killed their dreams. A child once told me, “Cat, that’s just not my life, and those dreams aren’t made for me.” But I stand here today because someone believed in me and we owe it to our children to believe in them.” 

Manita Devkota (Nepal)

I see myself as a pioneer. I’m a first generation immigrant and college graduate. That fact alone has made me value my dreams and feel empowered. I now work to empower the girls in my community who face menstrual health challenges by providing them health training, solutions, and health education.
 
H'Hen Nie (Vietnam)

I am a minority. I was supposed to get married at 14, but no. I chose education. From nothing, I’m here. If I can do it, you can do it.

Sophida Kanchanarin (Thailand)

To many I dream an impossible dream to be Miss Universe. I dare to overcome all fear of failure…I’m doing with all I am and all I have to fulfil not only my dream, but the dream of my people.

Magdalena Swat (Poland)

The fact that I am standing here in the room that is always [unintelligible] to be yourself, this is a message especially for the youngest girl, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be the best version of yourself and you have to work hard and also believe in yourself. Thank you so much.

Zoë Brunet (Belgium)

At age 13, I didn’t [unintelligible] my body. I would like to pass on a message to all women. Be strong…Standing here in front of you is my biggest success.

Dee-Ann Kentish-Rogers (Great Britain)

With a knee injury ending my dreams of being an Olympic athlete, I quickly realized that in this life, we are all tied to more than one dream. This belief inspired me to become a barrister, and an advocate for victims of acid attacks, and equal pay. This is what I want the world to remember me for. Thank you.

Enikő Kecskés (Hungary)

After I graduated high school, I decided to travel…I ended up in the most beautiful places all around the world, but I felt so aimless and little. Now I’m back to Hungary, studying at University, fine arts and accounting and I’m very satisfied in [something] my life. Thank you

Grainne Gallanagh (Ireland)

As a nurse with a dream of opening my own female health clinic, I want to use my knowledge and my experience to educate women on how to look after themselves. I want to raise awareness about female health, and as Miss Universe I would shine a light on the unfortunate stigma that surrounds female health in society.

Akisha Albert (Curacao Islands)

Despite society’s ideology of beauty, the most important thing for me is to stay true to the woman I was created to be, making sure to express the highest and the truest expression of myself – with love, respect, and a lot of confidence.

Natalia Carvajal (Costa Rica)

Well, I come from a place that taught me to find happiness in the simplicity of nature and the healing power of love. This is why I don’t dream with a physical crown or a title, I dream with the opportunity to represent each and every one of you behind that screen that still believe that the world can be changed by planting seeds of love and acceptance. Thank you.

Marta Magdalena Stepien (Canada)

I’m fortunate enough to come from the land of opportunity. I’m blessed with a 10-year modelling career that took me around the world, where I realized there was a need for change. I chose to be a part of that change by pursuing studying biomedical engineering, so that I can help people all around the world regardless of who you are and where they come from. I believe that it’s important to always be the hardest working person in the world. 

Kiara Ortega (Puerto Rico)

I’ve been a fighter and a believer, and I haven’t had a very easy life. Even though many doors have closed on me, I have never lost my faith. I never stopped believing in myself. That’s why wherever I go, I always want to deliver a message of hope. I want to inspire and motivate people to achieve their dreams, whatever those may be. 

Emily Sara-Claire Maddison (Jamaica)

I started my Miss Universe journey, despite my insecurities. I know that I actually started working on my insecurities, and I know I’ve realized that a queen defines her own perfection. I know I have what it takes to inspire, to relate, and most importantly, to comfort young women across the world, and across the universe. Thank you so much.

Sarah Rose Summers (USA)

As a certified child-life specialist, I break down medical jargon to relieve anxieties. As the next Miss Universe, if I were to be chosen, I would utilize my career experience, as well as my own hospitalization, to bring children from around the world child-life strategies, because I don’t believe any child believes and needs to feel alone and scared. Thank you.

Sthefany Gutiérrez (Venezuela)

I have learned to be a confident, constant, and determined woman, thanks to the example of my mother, who give me the... [unintelligble]... I am here, so proud to shout to the world, that we Venezuelans are warriors of love.

Sonia Fergina Citra (Indonesia)

Being raised with a family from 4 different religions, and seeing there are many cultural differences and also religion intolerance and gender inequality have been the cause of the trouble in Indonesia and also persecution. This inspired me to do a campaign called Be Diverse, Be Tolerant to encourage all the people to embrace the differences and respect for others. Thank you.

Mayra Dias (Brazil)

I am Mayra Dias, Miss Brazil 2018. I'm proud of being from the Amazon, Brazil. My mission is to make people aware of the importance of the environment. This is crucial to ensure the future of the next generation. Preserve the Amazon is preserving life on Earth. Thank you so much.

Francesca Hung (Australia)

I am an advocate of cultural diversity. I have come to learn the importance of diversity through my own experiences of growing up bi-racial in Australia. I believe there is not one single definition of beauty, but embracing one's difference is what truly makes you beautiful. Thank you.

 

The top 5 answered separate questions on socially relevant topics, from press freedom, to marijuana legalization, to feminism.

Puerto Rico

Hundreds of journalists across the world were jailed this year for writing stories that are critical of their government. Why is freedom of the press important?

Answer: The press is there to inform us their job is to give us the news about what’s happening in the world right now. They should have total freedom to be able to report exactly what’s happening without forgetting that they have to have sympathy because there are a lot of people that are suffering different problems in the world.

Vietnam

The Me Too movement has sparked a global conversation. In response some has said that the world has become too politically correct. Do you think the Me Too movement has gone too far

Answer: I don’t think that it has gone too far. Protecting women and women’s rights is the right thing to do. I mean women need protection and rights, thank you.

Philippines

Canada recently joined Uruguay as the second nation in the world to make marijuana legal. What is your opinion on the legalization of marijuana?

Answer: I’m for it being used in a medical use but not so for recreational use, because I think if people were to argue, what about alcohol and cigarettes? Well everything is good but in moderation.

South Africa

Many countries across the world are experiencing and increase in immigration. Do you think countries should limit the number of refugees allowed across their borders?

Answer: I think that every country should have their own rules and regulations but for a thriving society if all of us stand together, we have to understand that we are all human and we all are more alike than we are not so we should be open to loving each other, accepting each other, it doesn’t matter where we come from.

Venezuela

What would you say to someone who believes that pageants are archaic and against the feminist movement?

Answer: Nowadays we live in an era in which we have advanced greatly. Beauty pageants are not just about beauty, they’re about sensitivity and about having a heart. In beauty pageants we can show that women like me can achieve any dreams that we may have in the world. 

 

After the top 3 ladies were announced, Catriona Gray (Philippines), Tamaryn Green (South Africa), and Sthefany Gutiérrez (Venezuela) shared their last words before the crowning of Miss Universe 2018.

They were each asked the same question, as the other two finalists were asked to wear noise-canceling headphones during.

Question: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your life, and how would you apply it to your time as Miss Universe?

Catriona Gray (Philippines)

I work a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila, and the life there is very poor and very sad. I’ve always taught myself to look for the beauty in it, to look for the beauty in the faces of the children, and to be grateful. I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with a silver lining, and to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson. If I could teach also people to be grateful, we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their face. Thank you.

Tamaryn Green (South Africa)

Throughout my life, I’ve been exposed to those who are privileged and under-privileged. What I’ve learned is that we are all human. We all want to be loved, we all want to belong, and we all want to be seen, so we should treat each other that way. Thank you.

Sthefany Gutiérrez (Venezuela)

I grew up in a family filled with women, and each one of them taught me something very important. But what I always remembered is that by working hard in chasing your dreams, and having courage and strength and willingness to achieve these dreams we can achieve anything we want in this lifetime. And tonight, I am proving this. I am here in Miss Universe. 

– Rappler.com