As the new Miss Universe, Gray took over the title from Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, who represented South Africa when she won last December.
Her message of support came a couple of days after Gray competed in the Miss Universe preliminaries, where she debuted her much-talked about "Lava Walk" that featured a slow-mo twirl.
"A few years ago I lost a close friend to health complications with HIV", she said.
Only afterwards did she get more medical attention backstage. She was the crowd's favorite during the competition because of her wit. This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom.
"If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that's a personal crown that will always accompany me", Ponce explained. The former Ms U is also famous for her peace advocacy being part of the Mindanao Commission on Women Organization and recently became an ambassador-trustee of the Habitat for Humanity Philippines. "Ang galing", he said.
In an interview with ABS-CBN back in July, Gray said Ponce has earned the right to represent her country. Pia was initially announced as first runner-up, but after several seconds, host Steve Harvey admitted he made a mistake and Miss Philippines was actually the victor, removing the crown from the head of Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez.