Miss U.S.A. is the new Miss Universe!
Celeste Cortesi’s failed bid in Miss Universe 2022 ends the Philippines’ 12-year streak for landing a placement in the pageant’s semi-finals.
The coronation night was held today, January 15, 2023 (Manila Time) at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.
Pinoys on social media were surprised with Cortesi not entering the Miss Universe semi-finals, including celebrities Vice Ganda, and Kim Chiu, former Miss Universe Philippines queens Janine Tugonon, MJ Lastimosa, and Ariella Arida, and Miss Universe Philippines 2021 finalist Ayn Bernos.
Bawi tayo sa replay mamayang gabi! Hayuffff!— jose marie viceral (@vicegandako) January 15, 2023
Congrats celeste!!!!! Ang ganda ng nilaban mo for Philippines!?? Laos neighbor ilaban mo nalang kami and ACHI Canada ilaban mo kami bilang malapit na ang Chinese new year.— kim chiu (@prinsesachinita) January 15, 2023
Oh no!! ?— Janine Mari Tugonon (@janine_tugonon) January 15, 2023
Balik pala ko ulit sayang ticket pic.twitter.com/CO7WLHpuxg— MJ Lastimosa (@MJ_Lastimosa) January 15, 2023
We love you Celeste ? #71stMissUniverse— Ayn Bernos (@aynbernos) January 15, 2023
Pinoy designer Oliver Tolentino designed Cortesi’s gown for the Miss Universe 2022 preliminaries as well as the evening gown she was wearing during the pageant. Tolentino also designed Cortesi’s Darna national costume.
Miss U.S.A. Is The New Miss Universe
While Celeste Cortesi was not able to secure a placement in Miss Universe’s Top 16, a half-Filipina was able to get the crown!
R’bonney Gabriel, the representative of U.S.A., was crowned the new Miss Universe. Miss Venezuela Amanda Dudamel was first runner-up while Miss Dominican Republic Andreína Martínez is hailed second runner-up.
Gabriel is a fashion designer who also has Filipino descent. Her father is a Filipino while her mother is an American.
Passing on the crown to Gabriel is India’s Harnaaz Sandhu. Gabriel bested 82 other candidates from different countries.
Gabriel had to go through two question-and-answer rounds, which determined her fate to winning the crown. The first is during the Top 5 round with Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Curacao.
During the Top 5 round, Gabriel was asked: “Miss Universe recently made an inclusive change about allowing mothers and married women to compete this year. What’s another change you’d like to see and why?”
Gabriel’s answer was about seeing an age increase. Currently, she is 28 years old, the oldest age to compete for the crown.
Her full answer was: “For me, I’d like to see an age increase because I am 28 years old, and that is the oldest age to compete and I think it’s a beautiful thing. My favorite quote is, ‘If not now, then when?’ I believe age does not define us. It’s not yesterday, it’s now, the time is now, and you can go after what you want.”
For the final Q&A round, U.S.A., Venezuela, and Dominican Republic answered the same question: “If you win Miss Universe, how would you work to demonstrate this as an empowering and progressive organization?”
Gabriel related her job as a fashion designer to her answer and how her ways give a good effect to the society, such as cutting down on pollution, helping women who are victims of human trafficking and domestic violence, as well as using her talent to make a difference.
Gabriel’s full answer goes: “Well, I will use it to be a transformational leader. As a very passionate designer, I’ve been sewing for 13 years, I used fashion as a force for good. In my industry, I’m cutting down on pollution through recycled materials when I make my clothing, I teach sewing classes to women to help them survive human trafficking and domestic violence. And I say that because it’s important to invest in others, invest in our community, and use our unique talent to make a difference. We have something special, and we can plant those seeds to other people in our life. We transform them, and we use that as a vehicle for change.”
In the end, her answer prevailed among the judges that allowed her to become the new Miss Universe titleholder. Filipino businesswoman Olivia Quido-Co was part of the judges on the coronation night with Big Freedia, Emily Austin, Swena Patel, Myrka Dellanos, Mara Martin, and former Miss Universe queens Ximena Navarrete and Wendy Fitzwilliam.
The last time Miss U.S.A. won the Miss Universe crown was in 2013 with Olivia Culpo as the winner. Culpo also served as this year’s host with American TV host and stylist Jeannie Mai Jenkins. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and American TV personality Zuri Hall were the backstage hosts.
Banner Image Dani Sison