Pageant fans, rejoice! We have a new Miss Universe Philippines. Pasay’s beautiful Celeste Cortesi was crowned last April 30 during the coronation night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. It was a historic night for Cortesi, especially since it was hosted by three former Miss Universe titleholders — Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere, and Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Tebow. However, not everyone was pleased with our new MUPH’s win.
Celeste Cortesi is crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2022
Cortesi’s crown was handcrafted by Jewelmer. It was named La Mer en Majesté or “The Sea in Majesty” and is adorned with golden South Sea Pearls. Cortesi secured the crown after she gave a winning answer to Wurtzbach’s question, “If you could stop time for a day, how would you spend it?”
“If I could stop time, I would spend it with my family, especially my mother. It’s been two years since I haven’t spent time with my family because they live in Italy, and I came here to the Philippines just by myself. If I had a chance to spend one day, I would definitely be with my mom, and I would just tell her how much I love her and I miss her.”
Who is Celeste Cortesi?
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Silvia Celeste Rabimbi Cortesi is a 24-year-old Filipina-Italian model who has been competing in beauty pageants since her teenage years. She was the 2018 Miss Earth Philippines titleholder who finished 8th during the competition. Her platforms as a beauty queen include inspiring women to keep being informed and advocating for displaced indigenous people. Outside of beauty pageants, Cortesi is studying to become a real estate agent.
Some netizens are skeptical about her win
Cortesi grew up in Italy and only moved to the Philippines to pursue pageantry. Her answer during the Q&A portion revealed that it has only been two years since she came to the Philippines by herself. This raised many Filipinos’ eyebrows who preferred their Miss Universe Philippines candidates to be born and bred in the country. She is also not fluent in Tagalog and speaks English with a heavy Italian accent. This led to some saying they can’t truly be proud if Cortesi ever brings home the coveted crown.
Cortesi’s half-blood status was also compared to her predecessor Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Gomez. “Beatrice Gomez was actually born and [raised] in the Philippines. How lovely is that [?] We should have more [candidates] like her,” wrote one netizen.
“Sana piliin naman nila kahit hindi foreigner ay dito naman ipinanganak at dito lumaki. Hindi yung umuwi lang to compete for beauty pageant,” lamented another one.
Some also pointed out that pageant standards seem to close doors on the physical features of pure Filipinas. “Nakakatakot lang na hindi pasok sa pageant ang mga physical traits ng pure Pinay. Kailangan may along banyaga para umakma sa standards ng pageant.”
Cortesi herself addressed this issue in an interview with Canada-based Cuban vlogger Luis Portelles: “What makes me a Filipina are the values that my Filipino mom always have taught me throughout my journey here… and that’s what makes me a real Filipina.”
On the other side of the spectrum, many didn’t have problems with Cortesi being half-Filipino. They cited Filipino-Australian Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Filipino-German Wurtzbach who were both successful winners.
Her evening gown
Some might criticize her but Cortesi is clearly up for the competition. She wowed the viewers in her stunning evening gown by designer Val Taguba. However, another strong contender for the crown, Makati’s Michelle Dee, was named Best in Evening Gown.
Shining since the preliminaries
Cortesi successfully bagged two awards during the Miss Universe Philippines preliminaries last April 27. She was awarded Miss Avana and Miss Aqua Boracay.
Her national costume SERVED
Last April xx, the 32 Miss Universe Philippines candidates donned elaborate national costumes showcasing Philippine textile. Cortesi’s costume was made by designer John Carlo Pagunaling. According to Pagunaling’s Facebook post, the costume was inspired by local folklore about Dayang-Dayang Pasay, a princess from the kingdom of Namayan.
Albay’s Julia Calleja Saubier won best in national costume during the coronation night.
She bagged the Best in Swimsuit award
When it was time for the Top 16 candidates to show off in their swimsuits (from Caution by Cavaso and shoes by Jojo Bragais), Cortesi did just that. She confidently owned the stage and was eventually named Best in Swimsuit.
Look at that toned and flawless bod!
Cortesi outshined them all.
Cortesi also named Miss Photogenic
Aside from her awards during the prelims and being named Best in Swimsuit, Cortesi also won the Miss Photogenic title.
When will she compete for Miss Universe 2022?
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Cortesi will begin her journey and training as the country’s representative for the 71st Miss Universe happening in December 2022. India’s Harnaaz Sandhu will crown her successor. Cortesi, along with thousands of Filipinos, hopes she will bring home the crown this year.