Celeste Cortesi wins support of ex-beauty queens; Catriona Gray says ‘we always have next year’

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Catriona Gray and Celeste Cortesi. Images screengrabbed from Miss Universe

You win some, you lose some. At best, there’s always next year.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray offered a word of encouragement to dejected fans of the beauty pageant after their candidates failed to make it to the semifinal round of the competition in New Orleans, Louisiana in the U.S. on Saturday, Jan. 14 (morning of Jan. 15 in the Philippines).

Gray, who was Philippines’ bet in 2018 and bagged for the country its fourth Miss Universe crown, in particular addressed countries which were earlier touted as frontrunners in the 71st edition of the pageant, but failed to advance to the semifinals, including the Philippines’ bet, Celeste Cortesi.

“Guys, you are not alone. The Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia — I know you might be really feeling a little disappointment right now… but we always have next year,” she said.

Gray along with Emmy-winning host Zuri Hall were the anchors and backstage commentator in the recently concluded pageant.

Cortesi was an early favorite among pageant enthusiasts, and was even among the top ten candidates chosen by international pageant publications Missosology and Sash Factor, along with Indonesia, Mexico and Colombia.

Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi. Image: Instagram/@themissuniverseph

Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi. Image: Instagram/@themissuniverseph

The Filipina-Italian lass however had an early finish after she failed to advance to the Top 16 semifinals. Meanwhile, USA’s R’Bonney Gabriel, a Filipina-American beauty queen, clinched the highly coveted title.

Despite this, Cortesi still won the support of her fellow beauty queens and the Miss Universe Philippines (MUPh) organization.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach sent a short but sweet message to Cortesi, as seen on her personal Twitter account.

“We know you gave it your all, Celeste. We are very proud of you,” she wrote. 

Miss Universe Philippines Charity 2022 Pauline Amelinckx praised Cortesi for her dedication during the pageant.

“We have seen you work, hustle, fight and GROW as you prepared to raise our flag. As I’ve told you before, you have my admiration for all your dedication in always becoming better. Always proud of you,” Amelinckx said on Instagram.

Miss Universe Philippines Tourism 2022 Michelle Dee also sent virtual hearts to Cortesi through the comments section of Amelinckx’s post.

Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@paulineamelinckx

Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@paulineamelinckx

Miss Charm Philippines 2023 and Miss Universe Philippines 2022 first runner-up Annabelle McDonnell reshared Amelinckx’s post on her Instagram Stories as she congratulated Cortesi.

“We are so proud of you @celeste_cortesi,”  McDonnell said.

Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@annabelle.mcdonnell

MUPh director of communications Voltaire Tayag also asked pageant fans to just be “happy for the success of the Top 16” after Cortesi’s failed bid in the global tilt, as seen on his Instagram Stories.

“Let us all be happy for the success of the Top 16! All the women have worked hard to be in Miss Universe. They are all deserving,” he said. “Of course, it hurts but let’s keep the spirit of the pageant alive. Miss Universe has been very kind to us for so many years. Let’s be grateful for those years and be optimistic for what’s to come.”

Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@voltairetayag

Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@voltairetayag

Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up and MUPh national director Shamcey Supsup also shared Tayag’s post on her Instagram Stories on the same day.

Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@supsupshamcey

Image: Screengrab from Instagram/@supsupshamcey

This is the first time in 12 years that the Philippines failed to secure a semifinal placement in the Miss Universe pageant, a streak that started in 2010 by Venus Raj, who finished fifth.

So far, the Philippines have four crowns which were obtained by Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margarita Moran in 1973, Wurtzbach in 2015, and Gray in 2018. EDV

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