advocacy, activism and philanthropy

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray explains Young Focus works on ‘Good Day New York’

While many beauty queens get into advocacy causes after winning a crown, Catriona Gray, 25, has been actively involved in charity works even before her coronation as Miss Universe 2018. In particular, she is volunteer of Young Focus, a nonprofit based in Tondo, Manila, Philippines.

On January 8, 2019, Gray appeared on the morning show “Good Day New York,” which airs on WNYW Fox 5. She was interviewed live by Rosanna Scotto, 60, and Lori Strokes, 56.

Gray told Scotto and Strokes that she did not originally dream of becoming a beauty queen. What encouraged her to get into beauty pageants was the realization that being a beauty queen can give her charity works a bigger platform.

“Well, you know, when I was growing up, I never experienced poverty first-hand,” Gray told the “Good Day New York” hosts. “It’s really different seeing it, sensing it with all your senses rather than through the screen, through a TV. So that’s what happened.”

“When I was in Manila, there’s a certain area called Tondo, and it’s actually known as a garbage dump and most of the families there make their living by scavenging through trash,” Gray continued. “And so, the children there, they’re either pulled out of school early to help make ends meet in the family or they never go to school so that’s why I’m so passionate about education and I work with an organization called Young Focus.”

According to Gray, Young Focus gives free access to quality education to children from Tondo. She said, “I really believe that education is the only way to break the cycle of poverty.”

“If they can go on to develop a love for learning, have an academic career and find work, they could possibly pull their family out of the situation,” Gray said of the Tondo children Young Focus is helping. These children appear on the music video of her debut single “We’re in This Together.”

The recent “Good Day New York” appearance was part of Gray’s media tour as Miss Universe 2018. On January 7, 2019, she was interviewed by Ginger Zee, 37, on “Good Morning America” and by Ryan Seacrest, 44, and Kelly Ripa, 48, on “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”

The “We’re in This Together” music video was filmed in Tondo. Watch it here:

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