Harper's BAZAAR Singapore. Blouse; skirt, H&M. Earrings; shoes, Fendi.

Catriona Gray is a powerhouse pageant queen. Since being crowned as Miss Universe 2018, the model has embarked on a career in music and television, dedicated time to philanthropic work and as a culture and arts ambassador in the Philippines. Now, she’s unveiling her very own wax figure at Madame Tussauds Singapore.

The road leading towards this monumental occasion was far from easy. Due to the pandemic, Gray’s wax twin debut had to be pushed back – much to the dismay of herself and her fans. This also marks the first reveal in over two years for the Singapore tourist attraction at Sentosa.

You know you’ve made it when the wax figure museum picks your likeness for a coveted display that will tour different countries. The Filipino model’s wax figure will only be situated in Singapore for the next six months before jetting off to Hong Kong and Bangkok.

“I am so unbelievably proud to be the first Filipino to grace Madame Tussauds Singapore, not least the first female Filipino. May I now be the first of many,” said Gray who is one of three Filipinos to be honoured with a wax figure worldwide.

The doppelgänger is dressed in a replica of Gray’s Swarovski-encrusted lava gown that she wore on the night of her coronation as the 67th Miss Universe. The look is accompanied by the same stunning makeup, hairdo and ear cuff.

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Gray’s fans and visitors of Madame Tussauds Singapore will not only walk away with a selfie, they will also get the opportunity to learn how to catwalk like the pageant winner in a 90-second video tutorial.

Harper’s BAZAAR Singapore caught up with Gray on the creative process of her wax figure, her Miss Universe journey and what she plans to do during her visit in Singapore. 

Tell us about the process of getting your Madame Tussauds wax figure made, how it came about and what it means to you.

The process that goes into creating a life-like wax figure is really quite incredible. I only had my measurements taken once with the Madame Tussauds team who flew into New York where I reside while reigning as Miss Universe in 2019. 

They utilise a combination of different methods: Photography, 3D imaging and measuring with callipers. For the details, they had a colourist who determined my exact skin tone, hair and eye colour – they even asked for the exact brands of the lipstick and nail polish. 

Catriona Gray's Wax Figure Arrives In Singapore And She Spills The Tea-1
Photo: Madame Tussauds

This great attention to detail is no doubt what makes Madame Tussauds the attraction that it is and it means so much to me to have my own wax figure. Not just because I’m only one of three Filipinos to ever get a wax figure, but also because such a special and life changing moment (winning Miss Universe) has been immortalised. Thanks to Madame Tussauds, people can have a chance to be part of it.

How has life changed for you since being crowned Miss Universe 2018?

My life has completely changed. My reign as Miss Universe allowed me to work alongside a plethora of different organisations such as Smile Train, AMFAR and God’s Love We Deliver. 

However, three months after passing my title, I know my experience resonates with most people around the globe, when I say the world literally stopped as the COVID pandemic hit. 

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Navigating the pandemic was extremely challenging. Not only did it cancel and delay so many plans — like my Madame Tussauds figure’s original 2020 release date — but I lost time with my family, and many others lost loved ones, opportunities and time.

What are some causes close to your heart that you advocate for with your platform, and why is it important to you to do so?

I’m very passionate about education and equal opportunity, which is why I continue to work closely with Smile Train as their global ambassador alongside Young Focus and the Red Cross. 

I’m also active as my country’s ambassador for culture and arts. It’s so important for me to utilise this influence and platform responsibly and impactfully, because it’s really who I am. I’ve always been someone who loves to be of service to others. So, the roles and work that I do is just an extension of who I am.

Who are your style icons, and what is your personal style philosophy?

More so than people, I find that I’m really inspired by culture, history and textile. My personal style philosophy is to know what flatters your unique shape and to tell a story with your style by incorporating interesting textiles, accessories or “conversation starter” pieces.

Who are your beauty icons, and what are your best beauty tips?

Best beauty tip: Skincare is amazing but secondary to self-care and educating yourself. I feel that there’s great value in taking the time to learn about your skin type, what works for your skin and consulting with a dermatologist. For me, the best makeup is all about enhancing your features and letting your skin and natural beauty shine through.

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How are you planning on spending your time in Singapore?

Hopefully, eating my way around Singapore while exploring the sights and getting to know about its vibrant culture! I will fit in some fun too! Going to Universal Studios and exploring Sentosa as well as walking around the city (the best way to explore for me!). In any case, it’s bound to be a memorable trip.

What advice do you have for young girls with aspirations of being successful in the fashion, beauty and pageant industries?

Find your own unique voice within your field. There will always be pressure to follow a “formula” but your audience values authenticity and there’s no better way to be authentic than to be yourself and continuously invest in yourself and your craft!

Lastly, what can we expect from you in the near future?

I’m constantly exploring creatively! And now that the world is starting to resume some sense of normalcy, plans of a business, original music, some upcoming shows and more travelling are in the pipeline.