A caption of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray in her Instagram post was perceived by her fans to be a “shade” as to how she was introduced in this year’s Miss Universe Colombia beauty pageant.
The 26-year-old beauty queen shared pictures of her taken by celebrity photographer BJ Pascual as she promoted a fundraising video by the latter on his YouTube with the Philippine Red Cross as its beneficiary.
“This Filipina has landed,” Gray wrote on Instagram with a series of emojis featuring an alien, a UFO and a rocketship.
Some of her followers lauded her caption as they perceived it to be a reference to how a pageant host introduced her as a judge in the now-concluded Miss Universe Colombia 2020.
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“LOVE THE SHADE. Welcome back, our 4th Filipina Miss Universe!!!” an Instagram user wrote with a laughing-with-tears and a heart emojis.
The comment has reached more than 200 likes on the image-sharing platform as of this writing.
“Haha! Wow the Filipina indeed,” another online user wrote with a fire emoji.
“SHE IS A FILIPINA! 🇵🇭,” exclaimed a different Instagram user.
Gray also reportedly shared an Instagram Story that had an inline text that reads: “Filipina.”
Her reiteration of her Filipino roots came after fans noticed that a pageant host from Miss Universe Colombia 2020 introduced her in Spanish as “Australian by birth” who “represented the Philippines” in the 67th Miss Universe pageant.
Video of Catriona’s introduction as judge at #MissUniverseColombia . “Australian by birth but represented Philippines after living for a few years there.” WTF? You can see Cat clearly not comfortable with the introduction pic.twitter.com/qeXOuRTnaK
— SINJIN GLORIOUSTV Pineda (@thesinjinpineda) November 17, 2020
The broadcast also misspelled her name and aired “Catriona Garay” instead.
#MissUniverse2018 #CatrionaGray was one of the judges at the #MissUniverseColombia 2020 pageant. She was introduced as “Australian by birth but represented Philippines after living for a few years there.” And her surname was misspelled. WTF. pic.twitter.com/Qtw17NO6Zy
— BEAUTY PAGEANTS PH (@PageantsPh) November 18, 2020
Some thought that Gray was “insulted” and that her introduction “disrespected” the Philippines since they claimed it implied she was more of an “Australian.”
“Inimbita lang ata si Catriona Gray bilang Miss Colombia Universe judge para INSULTUHIN? I-introduce ba namang ‘Australian who represented the Philippines.’ Tapos ginawa pang Catriona GARAY ang pangalan.. hay naku. ‘Ina niyo Colombia, umayos kayo ha?” a Twitter user wrote.
“It is Catriona Gray and not Catriona Garay. This is a burning issue now here in the Philippines. How she was introduced disrespected (the) Philippines as if she is an Australian and not a Filipina. Still bitter over Pia’s winning?” another online user wrote.
In 2015, then-Miss Universe Philippines Pia Wurtzbach was declared the winner of the beauty pageant after host Steve Harvey wrongly proclaimed Miss Universe Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the Miss Universe titleholder that time.
On Thursday afternoon, it was reported that the president and national director of Miss Universe Colombia have issued an apology to Gray and said that it was “due to some language barrier.”
“The translated language that was sent for introduction is, ‘Born in Australia, from the Philippines who is Miss Universe 2018.’ It is honestly part of the cultural differences as here in Colombia, we regard the value of unity and cross-cultural importance,” Natalie Ackerman said in a statement.
She assured Gray and Filipinos that “there was no malice intended” over the mistakes they have made and hoped that the beauty queen “will not take this matter against us and forgive us and our management.”
Gray was born in Australia to a Scottish-born Australian father and a Filipino mother hailing from Albay.
The beauty queen moved to the Philippines in 2011 to pursue a modeling career.
When she won as Miss Universe in 2018, an Australian tabloid referred to her as “our crowning glory.” It also featured a crossed-out version of the word “Philippines” from Gray’s initial title prior to winning, Miss Universe Philippines.
— The Courier-Mail (@couriermail) December 17, 2018
In 2018, Gray appeared in an interview with talk show host Boy Abunda and said that she identifies herself as a Filipino by blood and “by heart.”
“Even though I was born in Australia, that’s not my choice. It was more of my parents’ choice,” she shared before.
“I chose to come here,” Gray added.