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Love brewed in pandemic, sealed with two puppies

By Kirsten Kanja | October 15th 2021
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and boyfriend Samuel Milby [Courtesy]

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray is hard to miss. She stands tall, literally, and her bubbly character radiates the room. 

We had scheduled an interview with Gray and her boyfriend at Emara Ole Sereni in Nairobi.

She walks in, arm in arm with her boyfriend, as curious onlookers throw glances at them.

The Filipino-Australian beauty queen is in Kenya to create awareness about cleft-lip, its care and correction. She has been accompanied by her boyfriend, Sam Milby, an actor and musician, who is known for TV shows like The Law of Revenge, Mara Clara and appearing on Pinoy Big Brother in 2005.

In an exclusive interview with The Standard, the 27-year-old beauty queen says their love story was solidified during the lockdown occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Boyfriend of the year award goes to Sam!” Gray says and bursts out laughing.

“Last year, he got me my first dog as a Valentine's Day gift. We have been together during the lockdown for an enormous amount of time in the Philippines, so having a puppy companion made that bearable. We added another puppy to our family just recently, so I am an official dog-mum,” says Gray.

While the model praises her boyfriend for his caring nature only briefly, Milby, on the other hand, gushes about his her.

He opens up about how they met, and reveals that their friendship blossomed in church.

“We met a long time ago at an event. We had common friends but we had never gone out. Then, just before she competed for Miss Universe pageant, we ended up going to the same church and we became close after that. We hang out with the same group of friends,” Milby says.

When asked about how the model captured his attention, Milby says without hesitation that she “stands out”.

“She is gorgeous. She is very tall. We are about the same height, but - look at her now, when she is in heels it is a different story because she becomes taller than me,” he says, as they exchange playful looks.

Gray is all the way across the room with other models that have attended the Smile Train charity event.

Earlier this year, the actor told Filipino Magazine One Mega that he definitely sees a forever with Gray.

“I would not be with Cat if I do not think she is the one. I am really looking for my life partner obviously, and I really hope that she is. I mean, we have a lot that we are working on and we are both growing in our walk with God. The one thing that is very important to the both of us is keeping God in the centre of our individual lives and our relationship,” he says.

In the interview sit-down with The Standard, Milby also opened up about accompanying Gray to Kenya.

“I am here because of Catriona. She is the ambassador for Smile Train and has been for the last three years. Yesterday was my first time experiencing what they really do, and I was touched. It is amazing to bring back that confidence to patients,” said Milby.

Speaking about the charity work she is involved in, Gray disclosed that cleft-lip awareness was a cause she was passionate about, having worked with the charity organisation since being crowned in 2018.

Gray says one of the key messages she hopes to pass across is that cleft care is available and it is free.


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