Miss Universe 2022 is deemed as one of the most eventful pageants in Philippine history, especially when the country's bet Celeste Cortesi failed to advance to the semifinals.
After the event, pageant fans took to social media to share their sentiments, with most of them disappointed at the Miss Universe Organization for “mishandling” such powerful candidate.
Apart from this, rumors also circulated that the Miss Universe PH Organization team walked out after the announcement of the top 16 candidates and left Celeste Cortesi after the event, having only her mother, boyfriend, and friends to console her.
In an interview with ABS CBN sports correspondent Dyan Castillejo, MUPH national director Shamcey Supsup addressed and rectified rumors about the result of the pageant.
On leaving Celeste Cortesi
A day after the coronation night of Miss Universe 2023, Shamcey shared a social media post wherein she lauded Celeste for fighting "bravely to raise the Filipino flag on that stage."
The pageant director proved that her support for the beauty queen was more than just a show because unlike what the rumor says, she did not leave Celeste as the competition was still ongoing.
“Not true at all, I watched ‘til the end, that’s why I am really saddened and a bit angry to hear malicious rumors saying that we walked after the top 16,” the Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up said.
She went on to explain that she stayed seated on her place along with the pageant directors of Singapore and Mexico. “During the announcement of the top 16, I know it is not the results that I would’ve wanted but as a national director myself, I knew that everybody in that section worked really hard into helping their candidates prepare for the pageant,” she said, adding, “I stayed in support to all the national directors with me and the candidates who made the cut.”
Shamcey also clarified rumors that the MUPH team left Celeste after the event. She shared that she was staying at the official hotel same as the candidates and that she went back ahead of Celeste. She later found out that the candidate didn’t return to the hotel “because she wanted to spend time with her family—her mom, her boyfriend, and her friends.”
“For me, I understand—completely understand—how she’s feeling and at that moment, she needed to be with her family, so we gave her the time and space,” said Shamcey.
She, along with the rest of the Miss Universe PH team, decided to meet Celeste the next day to comfort her. “I want to erase the notion that she was abandoned because it is not true,” she said.
Shamcey also shared that she received comfort from other national directors, who were also surprised by the top 16 results, believing that Celeste should’ve made it. “To have this type of support and love, that is a success in itself,” she said as she comforted Celeste.
The former beauty queen also expressed her dismay at the results and the fans' feedback about it, “I’m saddened kasi I know the fans are hurting and they are trying to find someone to blame, but if you guys are hurting, we are also hurting,” says Shamcey.
She also shared how solid their team was from the moment Celeste won the Miss Universe PH title in April of last year. “We have believed in her, we have supported her," she said.
On “know when to peak” strategy
Further fueling the pageant fans' anger is the so-called “know when to peak” strategy wherein the MUPH organization was accused of telling Celeste to reserve her energy and efforts for the time she deemed it necessary to give her all.
Netizens pointed out how the organization's rumored strategy did harm rather than good, saying it was the prime reason Celeste failed to make the cut.
"I never ever told my girls to hold back and not to give their best every single time they come out of their rooms," Shamcey said, emphasizing that she didn’t tell previous queens the term “know when to peak.”
“Maybe what I tell them is to choose their battles—-not everything ay competition,” she recalled. The pageant director also admitted to telling the queens to reserve their energy on things that “matter the most, and when it is needed the most” in reference to events prior to the competition.
Shamcey also shared that she told the girls to prepare the most for the preliminaries because that’s where the judges would base who to choose for the “first big cut.”
She also advised Celeste, “Focus on the preliminary interview, focus on showing who you are, what you are here for, what’s your purpose, and why you should be the next Miss Universe,” especially since it is equivalent to 50% of their score before getting in the top 16.
Shamcey also shared how Celeste prepared and transformed during the competition, “sometimes [I’m] blown away when you [Dyan Castillejo] interview her, hearing her thoughts.”
Despite everything, the former beauty queen emphasized the importance of respecting and accepting the results, given that Celeste prepared more than enough for the big day.
“I know it’s hard when things don’t go our way, but I think it’s time that we start respecting the results, the judges, the national director, all the candidates, whether they win or not... and to recognize everybody’s hard work to make this event possible.”
Shamcey also emphasized that the winner isn’t just someone who performs "the best" onstage, but most of all, it is someone who the judges think could live up to the responsibilities of being a Miss Universe.