Manila, Philippines – Celeste Cortesi won the title of Miss Universe Philippines 2022 at the pageant’s coronation party on Saturday, April 30.
The 24-year-old stunner from Pasay beat 31 other contestants to clinch her second crown in a national pageant.
From Earth to the Universe
Celeste first made her presence known in the local pageant scene through the Miss Earth Philippines 2018 pageant.
She was the first representative of the Filipino community in Rome. The then 20-year-old beauty queen returned to the Philippines in 2018 to compete for Miss Earth Philippines. After winning the title, she represented the country in the Miss Earth pageant where she placed in the Top 8.
The Miss Universe Philippines 2022 pageant served as a comeback for Celeste’s pageant after nearly four years.
Her experience shone in the preliminary activities of Miss Universe Philippines: she won the video casting challenge and placed second in the photo and swimsuit challenges, making her one of the first bets to qualify for official competition contestants.
Celeste’s inclusion in the top 32 final contestants came as no surprise, and her performance continued to make her a standout.
On pageant night, Celeste blasted through the competition, winning a slew of special awards, including Ms. Photogenic and Best in Swimsuit. Her sincerity and wit shone through in the Q&A portion, which ultimately led to her crowning moment.
In an interview after the contest, Celeste called her win a testament to her hard work. “I am excited for the sequel. I can’t wait to start my training, I can’t wait to work with the organization. It’s what I’ve wanted for a very long time,” she said.
With her recent achievement, Celeste is now the third Filipina to win two major national crowns, as she is the titleholder of Miss Philippines Earth 2018 and Miss Universe Philippines 2022. She joins the ranks of Carlene Aguilar (Miss Philippines Earth 2001 and Miss World Philippines 2005) and Catriona Gray (Miss World Philippines 2016 and Miss Universe Philippines 2018).
Celeste’s close family ties
Celeste was born on December 15, 1997 to a Filipina mother and an Italian father. She grew up in Italy and moved to the Philippines to pursue pageantry. Throughout the competition, Celeste expressed how deeply she cares for her family.
During the preliminary interviews, Celeste recalled how her father read to her and her sister poems that he wrote himself. “It’s kind of a story that really makes me smile, because whenever I feel nervous, whenever I feel under pressure, I always remember his poems and I always remember him told them to my sister and me,” she said.
On coronation night, Celeste also opened up about how her Italian and Filipino heritage made her value her family more. “If there’s anything my mother always taught me, [it] is to be grateful to your family, your loved ones and the people around you. Because when you are grateful and kind, people will also be kind and grateful to you,” she said.
Even her winning answer in the Q&A section laid bare the strong bond she shared with her mother.
Celeste received the question: “If you could stop time for a day, how would you spend it?”
To which she replied: “If I could stop the time, I would spend it with my family, especially my mother. It’s been two years since I spent time with my family as they live in Italy, and I came here to the Philippines on my own. If I had the chance to spend a day, I would definitely be with my mom and just tell her how much I love her and miss her.
Personal life and advocacy
When she’s not wearing her beauty queen hat, Celeste works as a model and studies to become a real estate agent. Her hobbies include meditation, working out, spending time with her furbabies, and going to the beach.
A little stroll on her Instagram page also shows that Celeste has a happy relationship with Matthew Custodio.
With her beauty queen platform, Celeste wants to inspire other women to get informed. “I would tell young women to start by reading. If you read you will be able to be aware of what is happening in your country and also all over the world. You have to remember that reading the news is the key and the power,” she said during the preliminary interviews.
She also defends the indigenous people of the Philippines who have been displaced from their lands due to modernization and development: “I would like to defend their cause by highlighting their situation. And also their unique and rich cultural heritage which makes the Philippines the most beautiful and unique place in the world.
Celeste also pointed out how beauty pageants play a big part in tough times. “A beauty queen is a symbol of hope for the people. We beauty queens can use our platform to uplift others, to influence and inspire the people around us. It makes us very powerful and influential,” she said.
Celeste will represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe 2022 pageant, hoping to land the country’s fifth Miss Universe crown. – Rappler.com