Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

From Miss Philippines to Miss Universe: the previous Filipina winners and where they are now

As Catriona Gray becomes the fourth Filipina Miss Universe, we take a look back at the country's history with the pageant

Clockwise from top left - Gloria Diaz, Maria Margarita Moran, Catriona Gray, and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Images: AP Photo, Getty Images, EPA, AFP
Clockwise from top left - Gloria Diaz, Maria Margarita Moran, Catriona Gray, and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Images: AP Photo, Getty Images, EPA, AFP

Beauty pageantry is big business in the Philippines. The final of the Miss Universe competition is watched by almost every household in the country, and the national pride that comes from the competition is palpable from both the contestants and the audience.

Today, then, marks an important day for Filipinos, as Miss Philippines Catriona Gray is crowned Miss Universe 2018.

The 24-year-old model beat off 92 competitors to take the title. She is the fourth Filipina beauty queen to be named Miss Universe in the competition's history.

Here, we take a look back at the previous Filipina winners, and where they are now...

Gloria Diaz: Miss Universe 1969

Marison Malaret, right, of Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico, receives the Miss Universe crown from last year's title holder, Gloria Diaz of the Phippines during ceremonies April 11, 1970 on Miami Beach.  (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier)
Marison Malaret, right, of Puerto Nuevo, Puerto Rico, receives the Miss Universe crown from previous year's title holder, Gloria Diaz of the Phippines during ceremonies April 11, 1970 on Miami Beach. AP

Gloria Diaz became the first Filipina to take the title of Miss Universe back in 1969. She was scouted by a competition aficionado while studying in college, who convinced her to join the sixth edition of the Binibining Pilipinas, the country’s national beauty pageant. She became a crowd-favourite during the Miss Universe competition, largely down to her wit, and was crowned winner aged just 18.

During her reign, Gloria travelled widely with the Miss Universe Organisation, supporting the causes it advocates, and became a public figure thanks to many public and television events in the United States.

Gloria went on to pursue an acting career in the Philippines, where she became very successful and highly recognised. She remains a Filipina television personality today.

Margarita Moran: Miss Universe 1973

circa 1973: Full-length portrait of Maria Margarita Moran of the Philippines, Miss Universe 1973, wearing a tiara, a sash, a scepter, and a cape with her gown. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
Full-length portrait of Maria Margarita Moran of the Philippines, Miss Universe 1973, wearing a tiara, a sash, a sceptre, and a cape with her gown. CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

After doing some part-time modelling for fashion designer Auggie Cordero and incandescent badgering from family and friends, Margarita Moran decided to enter the Binibining Pilipinas aged 19, going on to take the crown. She won the right to represent her country at the Miss Universe pageant in Athens, Greece shortly afterwards. She took the 1973 Miss Universe title, alongside the Miss Photogenic title.

Once her reign had ended, Margarita married and completed her qualifications in business, before moving to London to study a Masters Degree. She has headed several private companies throughout her life, and had a career in television and film, hosting Margie on Mindanao and producing a multi-awarded movie, Bagong Buwan (New Moon).

Moran is also well known for her work promoting peace as part of the Mindanao Commission on Women Organisation and recently as an ambassador-trustee of Habitat for Humanity Philippines.

Pia Wurtzbach: Miss Universe 2015

Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is crowned Miss Universe 2015 on stage during the 2015. AFP PHOTO / VALERIE MACON (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)
Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is crowned Miss Universe 2015. AFP

Miss Universe 2015 winner Pia Wirtzbach’s crowning is one of the most talked about moments from the pageant’s history. Pia was initially announced as first runner-up, but after several moments, host Steve Harvey admitted he had made a mistake and Miss Philippines had actually taken the crown, which had to be removed from the head of Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez.

German-born Pia was scouted by a modelling agency aged just 11, and her career in front of the camera took off. She was a child model and television star, and became the main breadwinner in her household. From that age, Pia was determined to take part in the Miss Universe beauty pageant, and made several attempts to enter, training for three years while also working as a lifestyle journalist.

Since her reign, Pia has been working with the Miss Universe Organisation as an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate and has starred as a guest judge on Asia’s Next Top Model, while also perusing her own modelling career.

Catriona Gray: Miss Universe 2018

Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, left, Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green, right react as Gray was announced as the winner of Miss Universe during the final round of the 67th Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, left, Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green, right, react as Gray was announced as the winner of Miss the 67th Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand. AP

Catriona became the fourth Filipina to be crowned Miss Universe in 2018’s pageant, which took place in Thailand’s capital Bangkok. Following in the footsteps of 2015’s Filipina winner Pia Wurtzbach, Catriona is an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness, and will use her year-long reign to promote the cause. She also volunteers as a Teacher's Assistant to the students of Young Focus NGO.

Catriona was born in Australia and moved to Manila after finishing school. She spent her childhood acting and singing, and landed the lead role in a production of Miss Saigon. She started working as a commercial model, and was crowned as Miss World Philippines in 2016, and later Miss World.

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Updated: December 17, 2018 02:29 PM

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