Celeste Cortesi on first acting job, life after Miss Universe

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Celeste Cortesi on first acting job, life after Miss Universe
Celeste Cortesi on entering showbiz post-Miss Universe Philippines: I would love to!
Photos from Celeste Cortesi’s Instagram account

Celeste Cortesi shared that she would love to explore the world of showbiz after her first acting experience in Mars Ravelo’s Darna. The surprise appearance in the series finale last Feb. 10 was quick to trend on social media.

The Miss Universe Philippines played the role of Kevnar, the Queen of Marte, who showed up before the titular character Darna (played by Jane de Leon) to thank her for keeping the planet safe and protected.

“It was a surprise for my fans and I’m happy I did it,” Celeste told The Philippine STAR and a few other members of the press in a chance interview on Monday.

“It was such a good opportunity because Darna is one of the most iconic characters in the Philippines, and it was my national costume in the Miss Universe. The script was in Tagalog and not even an English word. But I managed. I had like three days to really study. It was a very fun experience. It was very challenging actually. It was my first time to do, like, a whole script in Tagalog and a script in general as I’ve never really done acting,” she said.

“It was just a few days before (that JRB Creative Production offered the role) and I was also very surprised but I really took the challenge. It was my first acting experience. It was my first experience acting in Tagalog. I’m really grateful. I just did my best as I always do. I hope more doors will open.”

She was also grateful for the chance “to work with very professional and talented people.”

Celeste in costume for her role as Kevnar, the Queen of Marte who appears in the series finale of Mars Ravelo’s Darna.

“That’s the most important thing for me. The fact that I have so much to learn and so much to explore and I’m really looking forward to what’s going to happen after Miss Universe.”

Joining showbiz fully could be the next step for the Fil-Italian beauty and she’d welcome it. “I would love to. Honestly, now, I’m really exploring. I’m looking forward to my next step. I’m learning to speak Tagalog so I’m very focused on that. I have time to learn,” she shared.

“I’m really just excited about what’s to come. I want to grow, I want to really step out of my comfort zone, which is what I’ve been doing for a very long time. I am excited to try new things. There’s always an opportunity. When a door closes, there’s another one wide open.”

By “door closed,” Celeste meant her failed bid at the 71st Miss Universe held last month in New Orleans. The international pageant was won by Miss USA, R’Bonney Gabriel, who happens to be Filipino-American.

“Of course, everybody is very heartbroken about what happened in Miss Universe, and me as well. But I’m very grateful because I had a chance to represent the Philippines. And I worked very, very hard. I felt the love, I felt the support. At the end of the day, I’m just very grateful,” Celeste said.

While she didn’t get the chance to bond enough with R’Bonney during the competition, Celeste said she’s very happy for her. “I remember we took a photo together, I remember we danced together during a dinner. She’s really nice and I think that she’s been working very, very hard for the crown. I always said it is destiny, it’s her destiny. I’m happy for her and I think she’s gonna do great things as Miss Universe.”

The STAR got to interview Celeste on the sidelines of the launch of Stanible app, which works as a one-stop shop for unique digital collectibles from celebrity creators. She said, “I can learn a lot of things about NFT. I’m here with my boyfriend. I’m here also to have a new experience.”

On a highlight of her life that can be shared on the Stanible app, she said, “To be honest, to be able to win the crown of Miss Universe Philippines was the best moment. It was a really good comeback for me. And I really felt the love of Filipino people. I’m just grateful.” Prior to Miss Universe Philippines, she was Miss Earth Philippines in 2018.

When asked about what she did shortly after Miss Universe, she shared, “I had two weeks like I was eating everything hahaha. So good. Just two days ago, I started working out again since I wanted to continue my career. I wanna stay fit, I wanna stay healthy. But it’s good sometimes to let go after a lot of months of dieting and sacrifices. You need a break and you really need to also consider your mental health somehow. Now, I’m back, I wanna focus on new goals, so that’s it.”

The search for Celeste’s successor is already ongoing with applications being currently accepted until Feb. 17.

Told by a reporter that aspiring contestants last Feb. 13 included a mother, she said, “I think that Miss Universe has entered a new era, very inclusive of every single woman. And I think a woman, especially a mother, can be whatever she wants to be, she can have a family, she can have a career, she can also be Miss Universe,” she said.

The Fil-Italian beauty queen channels the iconic character Darna in her national costume at the 71st Miss Universe held in January in New Orleans, US.

“I wanna really meet the candidates. I want to give advice and you know, it’s the time for a new queen to be crowned and represent the Philippines so I’m really, really excited for them.

“My advice would be to really enjoy the experience, to work very hard, to not forget where you came from, to always be humble in every situation and to enjoy. Because sometimes, we have so much pressure, opinions from so many people. But as long as you remain yourself, as long as you respect yourself first, everything would be OK. And I always say the same thing: Miss Universe is destiny. Whatever is gonna happen, I’ll be very, very happy to see who’s gonna be the next Miss Universe Philippines.”

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