GOSSIP GIRL: Carpenter's daughter wins Aqua Queen of the Universe

Aqua Queen of the Universe Debora Celedio Mariotti

Debora Celedio Mariotti, 22, daughter of a carpenter in Bohol, won the national pageant Aqua Queen of the Universe, a project of Respect: Noble Queen of the universe Ltd.

“Someone posted in a freediving group on Facebook that they are searching for the 1st Aqua Queen of the Universe 2023 and one of our students in freediving class mentioned me in the comment section. At first, I did not want to join because I thought the contest was only for pretty, smart and rich ladies. Fortunately, they said that it’s not all about beauty nor stature, but it is all about your passion and love for our ocean. So, I decided to join because it is open to everyone from the ages 21-51 years old who can dive 5-7 meters underwater. Out of 15 delegates around the Philippines I managed to reach the top 3 and eventually got the title of the first Aqua Queen of the Universe 2023.”

Aqua Queen of the Universe Debora Celedio Mariotti (center) and other winners of the competition

The pageant ceremony was held in Panglao, Bohol last month.The Aqua Queen of the Universe pageant advocates to preserve and protect our environment, particularly our oceans and natural waters.

Truly this pageant does not prioritize the financial or social status of the woman but instead they highlight on what women believe and stand for.

Debora tells Gossip Girl: “I want to represent the modern woman who is an agent of change and to motivate aspiring ocean enthusiasts to be mindful of our environment. Freediving is a sustainable activity, hence, I want to encourage everyone – regardless of age, to learn this sport and create a mindset concerning marine conservation and restoration. I advocate freediving as a sport because it is a life changing experience. Also freediving has a lot of benefits. It helps to master a variety of relaxation and concentration techniques that will help you make your daily activities more conscious and become more calm. It strengthens your lungs and can help reduce anxiety. It gives you more self-confidence. It gives you the feeling of being one with the ocean and the beautiful creatures in it. It increases endurance and vitality plus you gain new friends. Aside from those I mentioned, you can apply it for marine operations – survival and rescue training, coastal clean ups. You can freedive to collect garbage in the ocean. Freediving is not just reaching attainable depths but a tool to preserve our ocean.”

The new beauty queen says that freediving was not her first love but it was because of her first and only love, her now husband, Giorgio Marrioti, who got her to love freediving. “I did not know how to swim and was scared of the deep ocean. My sister introduced me to Giorgio who is an Italian freediving instructor of Blue Freedom Apnea. On our first date, he brought me to the ocean. He showed me the beauty of freediving. He gave me the motivation to overcome my fears. I found it fascinating, so I began taking swimming lessons. As I got stronger and more determined to tackle my anxieties, I developed an addiction to facing them head-on. I became hooked on them. I then learned about the different freediving techniques. The happiness and fulfillment from freediving are simply unrivaled. It’s an adventure that helps me relax more. It frees my heart and spirit. When I go freediving and see those sea turtles and fish swimming past me, I feel like I’m in heaven. I finally took up freediving as a hobby, and I enjoy it immensely. I find exploring the ocean to be a truly magical experience.” You can follow Debora on Instagram @deborahfreediver and their freediving school @freedivingparadise in ig and @bluefreedomapnea- freediving club on Facebook. You can contact them at 09955317185.