Ms Catriona Gray of the Philippines (centre) is congratulated by contestants after winning the Miss Universe 2018 on December 17, 2018 in Bangkok. "That reality for many people is going to change". She was selected by an all-female panel of judges, which included Monique Lhuillier and past Miss Universe winners.
Though she didn't make it to the top 20, the competition honored her with a special segment during Sunday's live show.
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.
The internet loved that she was breaking barriers.
- Vince️ (@vinceabarra) December 17, 2018SERYOSO KINILABUTAN AKO. She is a woman, and in the eyes of the universe, she will always be a woman.
"I only need to be here", she said.
I'm so emotional right now.
The 27-year-old beat out 22 others for the title of Miss Spain.
Miss Universe, formerly owned by President Trump, didn't allow transgender competitors until recently. Before the competition on Sunday, she posted on Instagram in Spanish, "This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom".
"I'm here to represent diversity of humans in the world", she said.