Miss Universe PH Celeste Cortesi’s special journey from Italy to Manila

Published July 11, 2022, 11:50 PM

by Jane Kingsu-Cheng

It’s all about heart, hard work, and family support

One cannot talk about Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi and her “uniquely beautiful” journey without mentioning her supportive family. At a young age, and more so now as she steps on to the bigger stage, Celeste continues to look to her family for strength and inspiration.

After two years, Celeste reunites with mother Ma. Luisa Rabindi in Italy last June.

In her most nerve-wracking moments, the Filipino-Italian beauty queen would just have to go back to her youth when her father used to read her and her sister bedtime poems. She would also get her inspiration from her mother who had managed to raise two children as a single mother in a foreign country,
following the passing of Celeste’s father.

Celeste in her youth.

“My family truly is my anchor and lodestone. Without them, I will not find the strength nor the confidence to pursue my dreams. With them, I am able to do better and be my uniquely beautiful self, Cortesi to Manila Bulletin Lifestyle.

Dreaming bigger
For Celeste, no dream is too big, and no step is too small to start off the journey. Born in Pasay City, The Philippines’ Miss Universe 2022 moved to Italy with her family when she was 11 years old. In Rome, she shuffled different jobs and modeling. She bravely moved back to Manila alone to pursue her pageant dreams.

“Celeste’s relationship with her family is very inspiring and so is her drive and willingness to work hard not only as a beauty queen but also as an advocate for indigenous people and women empowerment,” says PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, who met with the beauty queen and other PLDT executives at an exclusive gathering last June 30.

PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi

“Celeste’s values truly coincide with what PLDT Home stands for—that families, with the help of the brand’s fastest broadband connections, can pursue their passions better and dream bigger. Her unassuming attitude and laser-focus determination make her an excellent PLDT Home ambassador.”

Soaring higher
As of the moment, the 24-year-old Celeste is studying real estate management at the Lyceum of Alabang. She’s also going for a Philippine real estate license. She also keeps busy advocating for
indigenous people and their land rights, hoping to use her Miss Universe platform to further
bring attention to this issue.

Prior to the pageant, Celeste used her time locked down at home to learn, study, and work toward achieving her pageant dreams. Before the MUP coronation night, she would train every day for the Q&A portion, reading up on global and local news and political and environmental situations around the world to be ready at anything the judges might throw at her. A go-getter, she would even have mock-up Q&A sessions with her trainer during the weeks leading to the pageant.

L-R: Miss Universe Philippines 2022 2nd Runner-up Maria Katrina Llegado; Miss Universe Philippines Charity 2022
Pauline Amelinckx; Miss Universe Philippines Tourism 2022 Michelle Daniela Dee; MUP’s Director of
Communications Voltaire Tayag; Miss Universe Philippines National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee; Head of
Consumer Business – PLDT Home Jeremiah de la Cruz; Miss Universe Philippines 2022 & Miss PLDT Home Celeste
Cortesi; Miss Universe Philippines 2022 2nd Runner-up Annabelle Mae McDonnell; MUP’s Head of Marketing and
Business Development Mario Garcia; and Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Luigi Gomez.

“The lockdowns limited how much time I spent face-to-face with my team preparing for the pageant, but I knew that by having a good internet I could brush up on my knowledge and still keep up with what’s happening with the world. Because that’s what a beauty queen is—someone who uses their talent and voice to further their causes and advocacies,” adds Cortesi. “PLDT Home was instrumental in that regard because having that connection allowed me to learn and improve myself, and it made all the difference during the coronation.”

Braving the bigger stage
Through the internet service provider, Cortesi was able to not only further her advocacies and reach more communities. She was also able to connect deeper with her Filipino roots. The journey obviously is just the tip of the iceberg for Cortesi, set to take on the biggest competition of her life this December. Her formula toward success, however, shall remain the same: heart, hard work, and a loving home supporting her through and through.