Miss Philippines was crowned Miss Universe on Monday in Bangkok after a trailblazing ceremony praised for featuring its first transgender candidate but marred by gaffes about the English-speaking ability of two Asian contestants.
Catriona Gray, 24, finished first ahead of the South African and Venezuelan finalists in the glittering televised event hosted by American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham.
She bested contestants from 93 other countries to claim the prize.
The 24-year-old Gray wore a sparkling red dress she said is inspired by a volcano in the Philippines as she was handed the crown to the delight of a roaring crowd that generally favoured Southeast Asian contestants.
Gray’s father is Australian, and she was born and grew up in Cairns. She studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the United States.
This year’s Miss Universe competition included the first-ever transgender contestant, Miss Spain Angela Ponce.
The theme of the 67th Miss Universe pageant was “Empowered Women” and was judged by seven women including former pageant winners, businesswomen, and a fashion designer.