Beautiful Motivation: Meet The Two Half-Filipinas Who Graced The Ms. Universe Pageant And Learn Their Life Purpose - Trending

Get to know Celeste Cortesi and R’Bonney Gabriel who competed in Miss Universe 2022.

Celeste Cortesi, a Filipino-Italian model, chose to represent the Philippines despite having spent most of her life in Parma, Italy.

She explained that seeing Pia Wurtzbach win Miss Universe 2015 inspired and motivated her to start joining pageants as well.

Cortesi wasn’t fluent in English or Filipino when she decided to move back to the Philippines in 2018. But she persevered and actually won the title of Miss Earth Philippines that same year.

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Going into Miss Universe 2022, Cortesi showed her advocacy for children’s rights by wearing a cape with painted handprints on it during the pageant’s preliminary competition. Children in Marawi participated in the creation of the cape.

Although  Cortesi didn’t advance to the Top 16 during the pageant’s finals night in New Orleans, Louisiana, her message rings loud and clear: “In amplifying the voices of the children who need our help, I wanted to bring them with me on the Miss Universe stage,” said Cortesi, adding that “The imprints all over the cape remind me that having a title means to have a purpose beyond myself.”

Meanwhile, Filipino-American R’Bonney Gabriel went on to win the crown for the USA. Gabriel is actually relatively new to pageantry, having joined Miss Kemah USA 2020 as her first one. She then became the first Miss USA of Filipino descent in 2022.

Before this, Gabriel graduated from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. She is now a fashion designer with a focus on eco-friendly clothing.

During the Miss Universe final question and answer, Gabriel said “I use fashion as a force for good. In my industry, I’ve been cutting down on pollution through recycled materials when I make my clothing.”

Gabriel also teaches sewing classes for women who were victims of human trafficking and domestic violence at a non-profit design house in Houston.

For her Miss Universe outfits, she collaborated with Filipino designers. Rian Fernandez designed her evening gowns for the preliminaries and coronation night, while Patrick Isorena created her “Woman on the Moon” look for the National Costume portion.

Upon winning Miss Texas last year, Gabriel said “I hope other women, Asians, can be inspired to join pageantry or any other field they may not see themselves in at first. They can break that glass ceiling, absolutely.”

Banner photo via Miss Universe website and Instagram @missuniverse .

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