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Even Supermodels Were Impressed by Catriona Gray’s “Lava Walk”


It takes a lot for a pageant to feel fresh. The entire idea of a competition based primarily on looks is passé, but amid the spectacle of last night’s Miss Universe contest, something special happened. The night’s big winner, Catriona Gray, a 24-year-old model who represented the Philippines, took to the stage and delivered a runway stomp worthy of fashion month. Gray’s “lava walk” first created a storm over the weekend when footage from the preliminary competition hit the Internet. Memorable thanks to her confident stride and final twirl, the strut caught the attention of supermodel Tyra Banks, who retweeted the clip and added some America’s Next Top Model–esque commentary. “Pinoy power to the max!” tweeted the clearly impressed Banks. “You did it! And that walk and confidence? I mean . . . next-level fierce!”

The moment could have ended with social media kudos, but Gray saved her best moves for the big show. Onstage at Bangkok’s Impact Arena in Thailand, she wore a fiery custom gown by Filipino designer Mak Tumang, featuring a portrait of the Mayon Volcano rendered in Swarovski crystals. It was the perfect complement to her lava walk, and she gave hosts Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham something to talk about, earning her second supermodel shoutout. “Congratulations [to the] Philippines,” shared Graham on her Instagram Story post-show. “You’re so beautiful and you deserve the crown.”

With a title under her belt and the glowing endorsement of two of modeling’s biggest names, Gray may find herself an in-demand commodity once shows start—if you think a viral moment can’t translate into fashion success, you haven’t been paying attention the last few years. Only time will tell if her signature stomp will find its way to Milan or Paris, but given that 2016’s Miss Universe winner Iris Mittenaere wound up walking couture for Jean Paul Gaultier, it may only be a matter of time before the lava walk hits the runway.

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