Filipino-Italian beauty Celeste Cortesi was crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2022 in a ceremony at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila on Saturday night.
Cortesi, 24, representing Pasay City, beat 31 other hopefuls and was given the crown, La Mer en Majeste, by Beatrice Luigi Gomez, who finished in the top five in the Miss Universe 2021 pageant.
Other contestants in this year’s top five are Katrina Llegado from Taguig, Annabelle McDonnell from Misamis Oriental, Pauline Amelinckx from Bohol and Michelle Dee from Makati.
The winner also won the Miss Photogenic and Best in Swimsuit Awards during the ceremony, and was named Miss Aqua Boracay and Miss Avana in the preliminary competition.
The three-hour event, which was broadcast to a global audience through several YouTube channels, was hosted by Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere and Miss Universe 2017 Demi Leigh nel-Peters Tebow.
Also present at the pageant were Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu, and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
Who is Celeste Cortesi?
Cortesi was born on December 15, 1997, to a Filipino mother and Italian father, and grew up in Italy before moving to the Philippines five years ago to pursue a career in journalism.
The professional model, who is training to become a property representative, also won the title of Miss Philippines Earth in 2018. She went on to represent the country in Miss Earth, where she placed in the top eight stages.
She is the third Filipina to win two major national crowns, joining Carlene Aguilar, who was named Miss Philippines Earth 2001 and Miss World Philippines 2005, and Gray, who was also Miss World Philippines 2016.
Miss Universe Philippines 2022 is Cortesi’s first pageant in four years.
Cortesi, whose hobbies include meditation, exercise and going to the beach, spoke during the event about how important family is to him.
During the question and answer segment, Wurtzbach asked Cortesi: “If you could stop time for one day, how would you spend it?”
He answered: “If I can stop time, I will spend it with my family, especially my mother. It has been two years now that I have not seen my family because they live in Italy, and I came to the Philippines alone. So if I have the chance to spend one day, I will definitely be with my mother, I will tell her how much I love her and miss her.”
He also said: “If there is one thing that my mother always taught me, I am always thankful for your family, for your people and the people around you. Because when you are grateful and kind, people will be kind and grateful to you.”
In an Instagram post after the ceremony, she wrote: “I was walking on that beautiful stage all I was thinking about was my mom and dad. The strength I get from them is indescribable. I have worked hard for this, I have said I will let God do the rest knowing that whatever He does for me will not pass.”
‘Information is key and power’
Cortesi wants to use her platform as a beauty queen to encourage other women to be informed – “you have to remember that reading information is key and powerful” – and advocate for indigenous people in the Philippines who have been displaced from their land .
“I would like to champion their cause by putting fate in their place. And it is their unique and rich cultural heritage that makes the Philippines the most beautiful and unique place in the world,” he said.
“A beauty queen is a symbol of hope for people. We beauty queens, we can use our platform to uplift other people, to influence, and inspire the people around us. It makes us very strong and powerful,” he said.
Miss Universe 2022 will be held in San Jose, California in December.
Scroll through the gallery below to see pictures of Miss Universe 2021.
Update: May 01, 2022, 7:55 AM