Miss Universe delegates highlight advocacies while parading in swimsuit | Inquirer Entertainment

Miss Universe delegates highlight advocacies while parading in swimsuit

/ 06:27 PM January 12, 2023

Celeste Cortesi in her swimsuit and cape. Image from Miss Universe Philippines / Instagram

Celeste Cortesi in her swimsuit and cape. Image from Miss Universe Philippines / Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — A pageant’s swimsuit competition is one of the most awaited portions of the program, and it usually highlights the candidates’ physique. But the Miss Universe competition opted to use the segment this year to showcase another thing — the delegates’ advocacies.

What was usually reserved during the question-and-answer round or pre-taped interview segments was front-and-center in the delegates’ swimsuit parade at the preliminary competition held in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States, on Jan. 11 (Jan. 12 in Manila).


The 84 delegates from around the world took the runway individually in their swimwear with capes made by the official swimsuit provider, 1995 Miss World Jacqueline Aguilera from Venezuela. But the capes had different prints and designs, some even had embellishments and appliques. This is because they customized the flowy fabric for a special reason.


The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) sent the capes to the delegates in their countries in advance where they were instructed to stylize the white fabric with their own designs. The organizers wanted the ladies to use the capes to show the causes closest to their hearts, or the social issues they want to highlight on the pageant stage.

Celeste Cortesi. Image from Miss Universe Philippines / Instagram

Celeste Cortesi. Image from Miss Universe Philippines / Instagram

Celeste Cortesi from the Philippines sashayed on stage in her pink two-piece swimsuit, paired with the white cape with hand prints in different colors. The Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) organization quoted her as saying, “in amplifying the voices of the children who need our help, I wanted to bring them with me on the Miss Universe stage. The imprints all over the cape remind me that having a title means to have a purpose beyond myself.”

Late last year, Cortesi went to Lanao del Sur with Miss Universe Philippines-Charity Pauline Amelinckx and Miss Charm Philippines Annabelle McDonnell for an exposure trip to Marawi City and the town of Marantao with Save the Children Philippines.

“Having talked to some of the mothers of the [child] beneficiaries, I was reminded of my own mother who struggled to provide for my sister and I. Unfortunately, there are millions of children who live in poverty amidst crisis. I hope that it inspires people to donate to Save the Children Philippines,” Cortesi was quoted as saying.

She reportedly added: “There’s so much work to be done, and every single person’s help matters.”

Angela Ponce, the first transgender woman to advance to the international stage of the Miss Universe pageant, made another appearance through the cape of her compatriot Alicia Fabuel. Spain’s incumbent queen delightfully unfurled her cape to the crowd, showing her 2018 predecessor’s iconic image holding the Spanish flag with her country’s name on the sash draped over her body. A rainbow was also painted beside Ponce’s face.


Part-Filipino R’Bonney Gabriel of the United States, who is a sustainable fashion designer, asked the audience “If not now, then when?” emblazoned on her cape, while Viktoria Apanasenko pleaded to the global audience, “be brave like Ukraine.”

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A post shared by R’Bonney Nola (@rbonneynola)

Filipino shoemaker Jojo Bragais’ “Maureen” shoe also made its international debut at the Miss Universe pageant’s preliminary competition. The design incorporated straps made to appear like interlaced fingers of hands in prayer, and were inspired by 2021 Miss Globe Maureen Montagne from the Philippines. And as in his previous collaboration with the global tilt, this year’s shoes came in three nude shades to correspond to the candidates’ different skin tones.

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Reigning Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu/ARMIN P. ADINA

Reigning Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu/ARMIN P. ADINA

The delegates also paraded in their evening gown at the preliminary competition show hosted by reigning Miss Universe Harnaaz Sandhu, who will crown her successor at the culmination of the coronation program on Jan. 14 (Jan. 15 in Manila) at the New Orleans Morial Convention.

US-based Filipino skincare expert Olivia Quido-Co, who has been the pageant’s official skincare sponsor for several editions now, will be one of the judges, while the Philippines’ fourth Miss Universe winner Catriona Gray will be a backstage commentator. EDV


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TAGS: Advocacies, Celeste Cortesi, Miss Universe 2022, swimsuit competition

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