Women of Style & Substance 2022: It’s ‘reigning’ women

PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Women of Style & Substance 2022: It�s �reigning� women
Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi and French Ambassador to the Philippines Michele Boccoz.

From a beauty queen to a diplomat, to public servants, business leaders and an artist, PeopleAsia’s “Women of Style & Substance” awardees definitely reign in their respective corners of the universe — crown or no crown.

Leading this year’s list is 24-year-old Filipino-Italian beauty Celeste Cortesi, who will represent the Philippines in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant later this year. Celeste, who graces the flip cover of PeopleAsia’s August-September 2022 issue, is also involved in a number of non-profit organizations such as Save the Children from Hunger. “The problem of feeding the hungry may seem basic, but it’s very relevant right now, especially with the pandemic. I have to be part of it,” she says.

Also on this year’s roster is French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz. The hardworking diplomat, whose career started in 1991, is currently leading the 75th year celebrations of Philippine-French diplomatic relations. Impressed by what she describes as the “old human dimension,” Boccoz says “Filipinos are such a positive people. They are often in very difficult situations yet they’re always resilient, positive, rebuilding, smiling. They care so much for others.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the lone opposition candidate who broke into the Senate’s Magic 12 in the recent elections, is also being lauded for her meaningful legislative work, which includes the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Universal Healthcare Law, the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Law, and the amended Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, among others. “We can be afraid, but we must not cower,” she reminds those who are battling for social justice.

Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco, on the other hand, plans to increase tourism arrivals in the Philippines by building on what her predecessors built and integrating new policies that will make the country more competitive. She also believes that “the tourism department should not only be focused on branding. It should also be focused on strengthening the Philippines.”

Deputy Minority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera is also being recognized for authoring relevant legislation in the fields of labor, education and gender equality. “In my 21 years in public service, I have learned that women who are resolved to uplift the lives of the Filipino family need to balance their femininity with tenacity...and sometimes, even a bit of ferocity. When there are obstacles or barriers in front of us, we often need to build our own doors.”

Revving up this year’s “Women of Style & Substance” list is Grab Philippines country head Grace Vera Cruz, a seasoned business leader who leads one of the country’s most prolific ride-hailing and logistics apps. “As we continue to play an active leading role in the Philippines’ digital transformation, we will ensure that every Filipino can participate and thrive in the digital-first economy,” she assures.

Adding heart and steel to this year’s list is budding construction magnate Jacqueline Eduardo, EVP of Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp. Mentored by her mom, the “Woman of Steel” herself Alice Eduardo, the young builder put her stamp on a township that Sta. Elena is building in Taguig — a sprawling expanse of land overlooking Laguna Lake, and bound by BGC to the West, Antipolo to the East and C-6 to the North. “I am more than willing to do what I need to do to be deserving of what I have... By simply observing my mom, I am able to learn what I need in order to succeed,” she says.

Visual artist Kristine Lim, on the other hand, proves that art can uplift others in many ways. On top of preparing for a handful of group and solo exhibits, The Artists on a Mission founder is also going around the country to mentor children from far-flung places, in hopes of raising a new generation of artists. “It was and still is my source of inspiration as an artist. Seeing the kids paint and draw something as basic as handprints, it touches something in the heart,” she shares.

Meanwhile, beauty entrepreneur Crystal Jacinto proves that beauty is definitely more than skin-deep with the launch of EW Villa Medica Manila Premier. Her new clinic aims to make patients healthier and more beautiful by making Swiss biomolecular technology and biological medicines more available to them. “We believe that it’s easier to prevent than to cure… If you’re within the borderline, we will already create a specialized treatment for you,” she says.

Also on the list is Mags Cue, the fashion maven from Cagayan de Oro whose eponymous clothing line celebrates “real women of all shapes and sizes.” She says: “I am very involved in women empowerment. I always try to instill in other women’s minds that if you believe in yourself, nothing is impossible.”

Okada Manila’s vice president for sales and marketing (hospitality and entertainment) Cielo Ortega-Reboredo is being recognized for playing a crucial role in ensuring that the country’s largest integrated resort never misses a beat — even during the toughest of times. “Love your job. Be passionate. If you love your work, everything else would follow,” she says.

Women rule because of their roles!

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