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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Celeste Cortesi dazzles in Oliver Tolentino, pays tribute to Darna in Miss Universe prelims

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It’s time again for one of the most highly-anticipated global events, the Miss Universe pageant. The Philippines’ bet, Celeste Cortesi, is in New Orleans, Louisiana, competing with other beauties from across the globe to try and bring home the coveted crown. 

Celeste in her national costume which pays homage to the well-loved local heroine Darna

Yet before the main event, Celeste competed in the preliminaries with the other participants. 

Celeste, who is half Filipino and half Italian, stepped on the pageant’s stage wearing a stunning silver halter dress. The glittering ensemble added to her oozing confidence as Filipinos across the globe cheered her on. 

It marked the beginning of Celeste’s stunning performance in the 71st Miss Universe pageant. 

From the opening walk, the pageant progressed to the evening gown segment. Celeste made another good impression with her dazzling, sky blue dress complete with a sweetheart neckline that compliments her physique. 

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The gems added an ethereal vibe as Celeste sashayed on the pageant stage. Her surprises don’t stop there.

Her gown, designed by LA-based Filipino fashion designer Oliver Tolentino, also features art deco embellishments and a skirt with sheer panels. Moreover, its color represents Celeste’s homage to her father who gave her her name, which means heavenly and sky blue in Italian. 

During the swimsuit portion, the Miss Universe committee had the candidates pair their swimsuits with capes they themselves designed, or in collaboration with an artist from their country, to help tell their stories to the audience.

Celeste emphasized her toned body with a bright pink two-piece set. While that was already an eye-catcher, Celeste’s cape brought another level of complexity to her character. Despite the plain white fabric, her cape had colorful handprints adorning it. 

Miss Universe Philippines Celeste Cortesi during the evening gown portion of the pageant preliminaries

Those handprints came from Marawi children. According to Celeste, she chose her cape’s design because it “highlights her experience in visiting the youth and their families during the Save the Children Philippines outreach in Marawi.”

“In amplifying the voices of the children who need our help, I wanted to bring them with me on the Miss Universe stage. The imprints all over the cape remind me that having a title means to have a purpose beyond myself,” Celeste said in a statement, shared by Miss Universe Philippines through an Instagram post. 

Meanwhile, Celeste added in a voice over that the imprints around the cape remind her “having a title means to have a purpose beyond myself.” 

Her advocacy has deep roots within the struggles of children. She hopes that her work would encourage others to do their part in helping children live better lives in the future. 

“There are millions of children who live in poverty, amidst crisis. I hope that it inspires people to donate to Save the Children Philippines. There’s much work to be done and every single person’s help matters,” she said in the voiceover. 

For the national costume segment, Celeste embodied a strong, independent woman with her Darna-inspired ensemble. The red and gold element’s highlighted Celeste’s natural beauty as she took control of the runway. 

Although Celeste is still in the preliminaries, she’s already showing what she has to offer if she ever takes home the Miss Universe crown and receives a globally-renowned platform. 

Last year’s winner, India’s Harnaaz Sandhu, will crown her successor by the end of the event. 

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