For Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi, family is everything.
The Filipino-Italian beauty queen has always been vocal about the important role her family has played in her life and career, saying they're her source of strength.
“My family truly is my anchor and lodestone,” said Cortesi. “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,” she added.
At the age of 11, Cortesi and her family moved from Manila to Italy, where she shuffled different jobs and modeling. The beauty queen later returned to the Philippines alone to pursue her pageant dreams. And for that, along with her bravery and drive, PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan found her very inspiring. He added that Cortesi's "unassuming attitude and laser-focus determination make her an excellent PLDT Home ambassador."
Fast forward to 13 years later, Cortesi, now 24, is currently a real estate management undergraduate at the Lyceum of Alabang in pursuit of a Philippine real estate license. She also spends her time advocating for indigenous people and their land rights, hoping to use her Miss Universe platform to further bring attention to their plight.
When she was still training for Miss Universe Philippines, Cortesi would read up every day on global and local news and political and environmental situations around the world to be ready at anything the judges might throw at her. She would even have mock-up Q&A sessions with her trainer during the weeks leading to the pageant.
“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,” the Miss PLDT Home shared.
As she continues her journey towards Miss Universe, Cortesi plans to keep her formula toward success remain the same, which is: "Heart, hard work, and a loving home supporting her through and through."
Cortesi is set to represent the Philippines in the upcoming Miss Universe 2022 pageant in December.