Why are Filipinos outraged that Catriona Gray didn’t win the Miss World 2016 title?

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An emotional Catriona Gray hugs the Philippine flag after the Miss World 2016 competition.

In the aftermath of Miss World 2016, both the Filipino fans and the Miss World Organization are victims of the circumstances. There is no solid evidence that the victory of Stephanie del Valle was fraudulent or manipulated but in the view of Filipinos, there was gross injustice. The Miss World Organization could probably be perplexed as of now as to why the social media exploded with such outrage from Filipino fans.

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Catriona was a very strong delegate from the start and it was largely because of her hard work and dedication.

Scratching at the surface, Filipinos seems to be sourgraping. One newspaper in Puerto Rico wrote an article that accused the Filipino fans of being happy with victory but not so gracious in defeat. CLICK HERE https://www.metro.pr/pr/entretener/2016/12/20/desatados-fans-filipinos-coronacion-p-r-miss-mundo.html


Los certámenes de belleza han tomado mucho auge en los pasados seis años entre los fanáticos de Filipinas. Si ganan son los más felices del mundo, pero si pierden los comentarios en contra de la miss que saborea la victoria son incontables.


Translation: Beauty contests have been booming in the past six years among Filipino fans. If they win they are the happiest in the world, but if they lose the comments against the winner are countless.

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A lot of online chatter claim that Catriona has been style to imitate Miss World 2013 Megan Young – from her gown to her hairstyle.

This is actually an oversimplification of the Filipino outrage against the results of Miss World 2016. The online outburst that was seen recently was nowhere to be found in last year’s Miss World and the year before that. The fact that Filipinos accepted the results of Miss World 2014 and Miss World 2015 negates the claim that they are vicious at defeat. There must be something about Miss World 2016 that they took issue with.

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Catriona wrote this in her Instagram account “The question most of you are asking is if I’m okay and I can securely say that I am. Miss World was never just a beauty contest to me. The crown represented a journey, one that grew from being an independent endeavor to one that became more than me. A journey that rallied the support of my countrymen. A journey that forced me to look into myself and discover what I was made of. A journey that found its heart in the children in one of the poorest slums in my country. Yes, the crown represented a journey… until I realized that the journey could continue and exist without it. I truly believe that God always knows what’s best and I trust in his plan and perfect timing.”


Before delving deeper, it is important to accept the fact that this year’s Philippine delegate at Miss World, Catriona Gray, was a superior candidate. In fact, she was the predicted winner of many beauty pageant related websites. Her hard work and dedication can’t be denied and her various placements at the crucial contests from multimedia to talent all indicated that she could at least place at the top three.


Given the strength of Catriona as a candidate, the surprising high placement of Indonesia and the unexpected victory of Puerto Rico, Filipinos have a bone to pick with the Miss World organization. It doesn’t help that the judging panel includes a Puerto Rican and an Indonesian with very strong ties to their respective national organizations.

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Catriona has this message to all of her fans: “Where will my journey take me next? That’s yet to be discovered but I am honored to have been able to represent my country on the world stage, to capture hearts all around the world and to make you all proud. Keep your torches burning. Mine is burning stronger than ever.”

The Miss World Organization has been put into an awkward situation and was a victim of the circumstances. If the judging panel had been different and if the Philippines was represented by some regular girl, there wouldn’t be any question about how worthy Stephanie del Valle is to become Miss World. The issue has been more about ignoring a very strong candidate rather than on whether the winner is truly worthy or not.


In the psyche of an average Filipino fan, Miss World has been unfair to them. It is not a coincidence that Miss Universe is by far more popular than Miss World in the Philippines. Digging deeper, the animosity dates back in 1973 when Evangeline Pascual won as first runner-up to Marjorie Wallace. Marjorie was later stripped of her Miss World title and an unverified story has it that when Evangeline was offered with the crown, she refused, claiming that she had been the true winner all along. While this story lingered in the minds of the Filipino fans, the official version is that the Miss World 1973 title was never offered to Evangeline.


It also didn’t help that since then, the Philippines posted victories in other major pageants but not at Miss World. In 1993, Filipino fans were aghast that Ruffa Gutierrez was defeated by Lisa Hanna and Palesa Mofokeng. It is still a fresh memory that Filipino TV viewers can only shake their head as Ruffa, a well-known local actress, were defeated by what they believe to be mediocre opponents. Some even claimed that it was a case of reverse racism in post-apartheid South Africa.


Before Megan Young was crowned in 2013, Filipinos have resigned to the urban legend that they will never ever win a Miss World crown. Interestingly, in 2011, Gwendoline Ruais almost took home the elusive blue crown but there was no uproar among the Filipinos because they knew Ivian Sarcos, the eventual winner from Venezuela, was really worthy of her victory.


The grievances of Filipinos against Miss World is not without basis and is rooted in their awkward relationship with the pageant. There were attempts to bring the excitement and prestige of Miss World to the Philippines back in 2014 but it never came into fruition because of lack of support. Now imagine what it feels like for the Miss World Organization to see Filipinos this year welcoming Miss Universe with open arms by agreeing to host the latter’s 65th edition.


Whether these are all legitimate complaints or these are all just rubbish whining, the truth is, questioning the results of Miss World is not unique to Filipinos. Mexicans took up arms online after Kaiane Aldorino of Gibraltar defeated Mexico’s Perla Beltran. Some of them even falsely posted in the forum that Kaiane had nude photos. Even in pre-internet era, there were protests about the results of Miss World too! In 1970 people believed Marjorie Christel Johansson of Sweden should have won instead of Jennifer Hosten of Grenada. Like this year, it didn’t help back then that Grenadian – their First Minister in fact – sat as one of the judges.


For Filipinos to question the results of Miss World 2016 should be thus understandable. This does not give them however the unlimited freedom to disparage the winner or even the other delegates. They must also understand that the results are final and nothing that they can do or say can change it. It was Madam Morley herself who read the results, not Steve Harvey.


Airing your grievances is okay but as it drags on, it is simply crying over spilt milk. Filipinos risks of further alienating Miss World if they will continue their complaints some even resorted to a form of online tantrum. Catriona is truly a rare gem but there is no point in harming the chances of future Miss World Philippines just because of her. In short, it is now time for them to move on and look forward on what 2017 might bring.