BORACAY ISLAND, Malay, Aklan—When Italian-Filipino model and realtor Celeste Cortesi bagged the 2022 Miss Universe Philippines title on April 30, Filipinos were not the only ones abuzz with her victory online. Some Venezuelan netizens have claimed her win as partly their own, saying the new queen has roots in Venezuela.
But she shot it down when the Inquirer asked for clarification on the matter.
“I remember one day I said my mother is from the Philippines and my dad is Italian, born in Venezuela. So he was just born there, but his parents are both Italian. It doesn’t mean I’m part Venezuelan,” Cortesi explained at the sidelines of the victory party thrown for the 2022 Miss Universe Philippines winners by Aqua Boracay on May 4.
She said the claim from Venezuelan pageant fans flattered her. But she also stressed that “I’m so happy being half Italian and half Filipino.”
Cortesi returned to Boracay with Miss Universe Philippines-Tourism Michelle Marquez Dee, Miss Universe Philippines-Charity Pauline Amelinckx, and runners-up Annabelle McDonnell and Katrina Llegado.
During their first visit to the resort when they were just contestants, Cortesi shared a room with Dee, the lady she held hands with during the crucial moment of the competition as the final two delegates.
“I remember from my side I was so happy to be holding hands with [Dee] because I got so close to her during the competition. We hugged each other first and we told each other that whatever’s gonna happen I will be happy for you, that’s it,”Cortesi shared.
The new queen said she and Dee were happy to share that moment together. “I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone else,” Cortesi continued.
She also revealed that she had already been crying even before she was announced as the new queen. “I’ve been working a lot to get this crown. And the fact that all the hard work has paid off is such a beautiful feeling. And to come back here as the winner makes me so happy and excited for what’s next,” Cortesi said.
The Miss Universe Philippines organization said Cortesi and her court of queens should be relaxing now, after a punishing pageant schedule as delegates. The team also said she will start her full-blown training for Miss Universe once the international organizers reveal the date and location of this year’s global tilt.