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Philippines' Catriona Gray named Miss Universe 2018

Gray edged out first runner-up Tamaryn Green of South Africa and third-place Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela.

Catriona Gray of the Philippines, left, reacts as

Catriona Gray of the Philippines, left, reacts as she is crowned the new Miss Universe 2018 by Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters during the final round of the 67th Miss Universe competition in Bangkok, Thailand, on Dec. 17, 2018. Photo Credit: AP/Gemunu Amarasinghe

The Philippines' Catriona Gray was named Miss Universe 2018 in a competition held in Bangkok on Monday, besting contestants from 93 other countries and delighting her home nation.

Gray wore a sparkling red dress that she said was inspired by a volcano in the Philippines as she was handed the crown to the delight of a roaring crowd that generally favored Southeast Asian contestants.

The 24-year-old singer and model said she wore red because "when I was 13, my mom said she had a dream that I would win Miss Universe in a red dress." She said her mom cried when they saw each other after she won the competition, the 67th Miss Universe pageant.

Gray edged out first runner-up Tamaryn Green of South Africa and third-place Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela. She succeeds Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa.

In the Philippines, pageants are a popular attraction, and Gray's countrymen watching the televised contest cheered wildly and jumped for joy when she was declared the winner.

Celebrations were especially buoyant in Oas town in the northeastern province of Albay, from which Gray's Filipina mother hails. According to Gray, her gown's design, with its lava color and appearance, was influenced by Albay's iconic Mayon Volcano.

Gray's father is Australian, and she was born and grew up in Cairns, Australia. She studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the United States.

The office of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was quick to congratulate the winner — the fourth Filipina to be named Miss Universe.

This year's Miss Universe competition included the first-ever transgender contestant, Angela Ponce of Spain. She said in a video presentation that it was not important for her to win, but was more important for her "to be here."

One of the few controversies of this year's contest involved Miss United States, Sarah Rose Summers, who appeared to mock contestants from Cambodia and Vietnam over their English language skills. Summers apologized.

The finale was again hosted by Steve Harvey, who infamously announced the wrong winner in the 2015 contest. Harvey joked briefly about the incident in exchanges with contestants, saying, "You all can't let that go" and "I'm still here."

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