Beauty pageant fans from the Philippines are strongly hoping for Catriona Gray, 24, of Oas, Albay to bring home the fourth Miss Universe crown for the country. It has been almost three years since Pia Wurtzbach, 29, of Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental became the third Filipino titleholder of the international beauty pageant formed on June 28, 1952.
Gloria Diaz, 67, of Aringay, La Union and Margarita Moran, 65, of Davao won the first Miss Universe crowns for the Philippines on July 19, 1969 in Miami Beach, Florida, United States and on July 21, 1973 in Athens, Greece. On December 20, 2015, Wurtzbach won the third and most recent Miss Universe crown for the Philippines in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
On December 17, 2018, Gray and 93 other candidates will compete for the Miss Universe 2018 crown at Impact, Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok, Thailand. Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, 23, of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the show.
Gray is one of the strongest candidates beauty pageant fans and experts predict to win the Miss Universe 2018 title. For her to win, she has to outperform the other outstanding candidates:
1. Miss Mexico Andrea Toscano, 20, hails from Manzanillo, a city located on the Pacific Ocean. She is eyeing the third Miss Universe crown for Mexico following the successes of Lupita Jones in 1991 and Ximena Navarrete in 2010.
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¡¡Increíble nuestra primera cena!! 🌟 La vista es espectacular en @lebuahotelsresorts in Bangkok, Tailandia. Feliz cumpleaños a nuestra querida @realpaulashugart y muchas gracias @missuniverse por el gran evento de hoy!!!!💕💕💕💕. . Vestido @manueloluhacouture Heels @davidsalomonr Stylist @evangelina_martiespino @mexicanauniversalof @oficialmxu
2. Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green, 24, wants to follow the footsteps of Nel-Peters and Miss Universe 1978 Margaret Gardiner. If Green wins, South Africa will achieve the second back-to-back win in Miss Universe, following Venezuela.
3. Miss Thailand Sophida Kancharin, 23, hails from Bangkok. Her countrymen hope that she becomes the third Miss Universe from Thailand, following Apasra Hongsakula and Porntip Nakhirunkanok, who won in 1965 and 1988, respectively.
4. Miss Australia Francesca Hung, 24, is from Sydney, the most populous city in Oceania. She is targeting the third Miss Universe crown for Australia, following the victories of Kerry Anne Wells and Jennifer Hawkins, who were crowned in 1972 and 2004, respectively.
Other early favorites in Miss Universe 2018 are Miss Spain Angela Ponce, 27, of Seville, Miss Albania Trejsi Sejdini, 18, of Tirana and Miss Japan Yuumi Kato, 22, of Aichi. Meanwhile, meet all the 94 candidates in the preliminary competition here: