“And [I] reassure myself that having moments of weakness, anxiety and overwhelm doesn’t mean I’m not strong—it means I’m human” —Catriona
Recently, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray opened up about being overwhelmed by the surplus of disheartening headlines that led her to carry out a social media cleanse. In a heartfelt Instagram post, she writes, “Hey everyone, just checking in. I know I haven't been active much on social media lately. It's just that personally, it's become a bit much. Not social media alone, but just the news and the numbers. It feels like every week, there are condolences being shared on my timeline. Friends losing family. Friends losing friends. Families separated. People feeling isolated and alone fighting battles that seem too great.”
In a period where we’re all collectively grappling with the unknown—and grieving—there is deep comfort in an influential figure speaking up about struggling to make sense of everything happening. While some consider this bold move as a sign of weakness, Catriona believes that this display “means that I’m human.”
As the beauty queen and advocate enters a new chapter—becoming the new ambassador for SPARKLE, a leading oral beauty brand from Thailand—she shares her thoughts on validating one’s feelings and how her perception of beauty has changed in quarantine in an exclusive one-on-one.
Wonder: You recently opened up about your need for a mental health break because of the overwhelming headlines lately. During these times, what small steps do you take to ground yourself?
Catriona: Honestly, I always need to take a few moments to give myself grace and validate what I’m feeling. Most of the time, I subconsciously hold myself to this “standard” of being strong. Of just “dealing with it” when sometimes I forget that what I’m going through really isn’t easy. And [I] reassure myself that having moments of weakness, anxiety and overwhelm doesn’t mean I’m not strong—it means I’m human.
Then I usually open up to a loved one. Being away from my family has been really difficult but even a video call really helps. In other words, I need to lean on other people—I’ve learned that the hardest times are easier to overcome with the help of others. Also, never underestimate the power of prayer.
W: How has the pandemic changed your perspective on beauty and what you consider to be “beautiful”?
C: The pandemic really forced me to look inward. I mean, on social media and on the surface it’s easy to boast and share an image of “beauty,” but what about the person and the feeling behind that “image?” It made me realize that beauty is truly a feeling that overflows outward to a gesture or action (like kindness). Because I’ve discovered that even though you might satisfy society’s beauty “image” standards if there isn’t joy or happiness in your heart…it feels empty. But beauty in the form of joy or kindness—something that radiates from within you and goes on to positively impact others—that’s a [kind of] beauty that never fades.
W: What are your go-to beauty essentials for days when you’re tamad (lazy) to go all-out or just spending time indoors?
C: I think I’m tamad in general haha, but I like to think of it as “low-maintenance.” My go-to beauty essentials are SPF, cheek tint, brow soap and a tinted lip balm. The pandemic has definitely made my beauty routine much more simplistic and laid back, and made me much more comfortable with my “natural beauty.”
W: What can we look forward to with your new venture with SPARKLE? Any must-haves for those new to the brand?
C: Yes! I’m obsessed with the SPARKLE Fresh and Cool mouthwash because it’s so gentle and contains no alcohol, yet is super powerful against bad breath—which when wearing a face mask constantly is a must! And then when it comes to the toothpaste, there are a few variants but my favorite remains to be the original SPARKLE White Toothpaste which gently whitens and has a minty flavor that isn't too overpowering but leaves my mouth feeling clean.
For Catriona and SPARKLE, a simple smile can do so much—upgrade your day and foster new connections. Learn more about the bestselling oral beauty brand here.
SPARKLE is available at Watsons, 7-Eleven, Robinsons Supermarket, Shopwise and Rustan’s The Marketplace branches nationwide and online at BeautyMNL, Zalora and in SPARKLE’s official stores on Lazada and Shopee.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver