Miss Philippines wins 2018 Miss Universe crown

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Miss Philippines was crowned Miss Universe on Monday in Bangkok after a trailblazing ceremony.

Catriona Gray, 24, finished first ahead of the South African and Venezuelan finalists in the glittering televised event hosted by American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham.

In the final round, Gray earned applause describing her work in the slums of the Philippine capital Manila and said if she won she would try to find areas "where I could give something, where I could provide something."

She added she would work for a world "where negativity could not grow and foster and children would have a smile on their face".

Gray -- a student of music theory -- beat more than 90 contestants from around the globe in the 67th instalment of Miss Universe, which was held in the Thai capital's Impact Arena.

During the competition, which was broadcast live, candidates were asked questions on press freedom, refugees and the #MeToo movement.

This year's event drew positive feedback for themes of inclusivity and an all-women panel of judges made up of business leaders and former Miss Universe titleholders.

Miss Spain's Angela Ponce made history as the first transgender candidate in a competition.

But issues of tolerance and respect came center stage during the competition when Miss USA Sarah Rose Summers appeared to poke fun at Miss Vietnam and Miss Cambodia on social media for not being able to speak English.

The comments went viral but Summers later posted an apology on Instagram, saying she did not "intend to hurt" her fellow competitors.

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