With less than a week to go before the big pageant, the Miss Universe season has finally arrived! Catriona Gray, who was crowned Miss Universe in 2018, celebrated by posting a few throwback photos of her arriving in Thailand when she was competing, both showing support to the current delegates and reminiscing about her own time as a candidate.
However, the post earned her some backlash, with netizens saying her post showed a lack of support for the current Miss Universe Philippines, Rabiya Mateo.
Gray’s caption focused on uplifting the delegates and their teams for all the work they’re putting into the pageant despite the difficulties the pandemic brought.
“I think it’s such an amazing feat that the delegates from around the world have been able to be present in Florida, USA having overcome all the challenges that I’m sure they and their team faced!” she wrote. “So shoutout to all the contestants, their teams and families who have helped in allowing each woman to strive for her [Miss Universe] dreams despite the current climate!”
She then ended it by asking, “Who are you all cheering for?” which a number of followers weren’t happy with. Some commenters were upset that, instead of showing support specifically for Mateo, Gray chose to ask her followers who they’re rooting for instead.
Gray addressed the concern, replying to one of the comments in which a follower said that she should be specifically cheering for Mateo since Gray herself is a Filipina. In her reply, Gray said, “I’m a Filipina AND a Miss Universe. It’s a celebration of women all over the world.”
Others were concerned that she didn’t mention her support for Mateo at all on social media. She addressed one of these comments as well, saying that she has “reached out to [Rabiya Mateo] privately throughout her journey” and that “not everything is on display on social media.”
Mateo arrived in Florida, where the pageant will be held, three weeks ago. She is currently preparing for the finals, which will be on May 16 (May 17 in the Philippines.)