THE Filipina candidate for Miss World 2016 has become the clear favourite to lift the coveted crown.
Online bookmaker Paddy Power is offering 5/1 on sweet victory for Catriona Elisa Gray, putting her comfortably ahead of Australia’s Madeline Cowe and Mexico’s Ana Girault, both at 13/1.
Further down the field, China’s Jing Kong comes in at 25/1 and America’s Audra Mari at 33/1.
The 22-year-old is currently in host city Washington DC preparing for the grand final on December 18.
The professional model’s introduction video [watch below] has already been viewed half a million times. She said: “Syempre, I’m introducing myself, so who better to write the script than me. I wanted not only to show the beautiful sights of our country but also who I am as a person.”
Miss Gray grew up in Australia, but chose to move back to the Philippines as an adult. Despite her glamorous lifestyle, she always finds time to help the country’s poor, particularly children in the Tondo area of Manila. “I was shocked that families were living with such little resources, that they were getting by on so little. I think if you give a child education, they can really make something of themselves, they can help their families in the long run,” she said.
Miss Gray’s unusual name is a result of her mixed heritage, and a combination of her two grandmothers’ names. “My grandmother on my dad’s side is of Scottish heritage and she used to speak Gaelic, which is the Scottish language,” she said. “She used to paint beautiful oil canvass paintings and would sign her name at the bottom. In Gaelic, Catherine is Catriona. My middle name Elisa is taken from my lola on my mom’s side.”
As well as helping the poor and modelling, Miss Gray says that music and art are “part of my life” . She has a Masters Certificate in Music Theory from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. She also plays the guitar and has a black belt in Choi Kwang Do.
She shares an agent with her best friend Valerie Weigmann, who represented the country in the 2014 pageant, finishing in the top 25 semifinalists. Her long-term boyfriend is German-Filipino model Clint Bondad.
The country’s only previous Miss World was Megan Young, who was crowned winner in 2013.