Will the Queen of Marte in ‘Darna’ be the start of Celeste Cortesi’s acting career?
Celeste Cortesi may have failed to bring home the 71st Miss Universe crown last January, but at least she still got to be called queen — Queen Kevnar of the fictional planet Marte, that is — following her surprise appearance in ABS-CBN teleserye “Mars Ravelo’s Darna” during its finale episode, which aired on February 10.
Cortesi, it would be recalled, took inspiration from the Filipino female superhero for the national costume competition of Miss Universe, a move that was lauded by “Darna” actress herself, Jane de Leon, as well as the family of the late Mars Ravelo and the producers of the show.
Her appearance on the show, however, gave rise to the question: does this mark the start of Cortesi’s acting career?
Cortesi, in her speaking role in the finale episode, expressed her gratitude to Darna (Jane De Leon) for protecting the Marte.
“Nagtagumpay ka sa misyon mo. Tunay kang anak ng magiting na mandirigmang si Zorra, matapang at maaasahan. Nararapat kang maging protektor,” she said, as seen in a video uploaded by ABS-CBN Entertainment on Feb. 11, “Maraming salamat sa mga sakripisyo mo. Dahil sa ginawa mo, nailigtas mo hindi lang ang mundo kundi ang buong kalawakan.”
(You have succeeded in your mission. You are truly the child of the defender Zorra, who is brave and reliable. You are meant to be the protector. Thank you very much for your sacrifices. Because of what you’ve done, you did not just save the world but also the universe.)
While it’s unclear whether Cortesi would pursue acting after Miss Universe 2022, she revealed on her personal Instagram account that her surprise debut role was an opportunity “to learn and to grow.”
“Taking on the role of Kevnar, The Queen of Marte is definitely a new experience and challenge. Just like any other challenge, I take it as an opportunity to learn and to grow. It is true that when one door closes, another one opens, it’s all about seizing the moment and being grateful for the chance to work hard and to learn more about myself. Here is to new beginnings and to new adventures,” said the beauty queen on Instagram.
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“Thank you to everyone at ABS-CBN and Darna for allowing me to be a part of this iconic show that celebrates women empowerment,” she added.
During the national costume event of the 2023 Miss Universe, Cortesi donned the two-piece red-and-gold suit with matching knee-high boots and arm cuffs that resembled the Filipina superhero.
De Leon, during a press conference after the global beauty tilt, said Cortesi had more to show to the world even if she did not win the crown.
“I believe kay Celeste na meron pa siyang ipapakita sa ating lahat. Hindi lang sa ngayon, but soon. I really believe in it (I believe that Celeste has more to show to everyone. It might not be now, but soon. I really believe in it.),” she added.
Should Cortesi pursue acting, she would not be the first beauty queen to enter show business after pageantry.
Some of the most notable beauty queens turned actresses include Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss International 2016 Kylie Versoza, Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe Philippines 1994 Charlene Gonzales, Miss Universe Philippines 2009 Bianca Manalo, Miss Universe Philippines 2016 Maxine Medina, and Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo, among many others.
Does the Queen of Marte exist?
While the Queen of Marte’s origins were not explored throughout the run of “Mars Ravelo’s Darna”, it was known that the female superhero indeed originated from Marte.
The planet, according to Mango Comics’ “Darna Comicbook 3” in 2022, is a land inhabited by the Adranikans and Anomalkans where the former was described as lovers of peace ruled by Queen Adran, until they were overtaken by serpent-like beings who are followers of Queen Braguda.
The backstory of Cortesi’s surprise role in the TV series is unknown, however, her lines indicate that she is part of the Adranikan tribe.
On the other hand, Darna was described in the comics as an extraterrestrial warrior coming from the Planet Marte who was manifested through Narda after swallowing the titular white stone. EDV
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