‘Fierce against injustice’: Celeste Cortesi brings Darna to Miss Universe stage

January 12, 2023 - 1:46 PM
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Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi wearing "Darna" for her national costume at the 71st Miss Universe (Screengrab from Facebook/TheMissUniversePH)

Darna is taking flight on the Miss Universe stage.

The Filipino superheroine made it to local Twitter’s trending list on Thursday morning after Philippine bet Celeste Cortesi showcased her national costume for the 71st edition of the pageant.

The 25-year-old Pasay beauty donned the iconic red-and-gold ensemble of the fictional character designed by Los Angeles-based Filipino designer Oliver Tolentino.

Her headpiece and other metalwork accessories, on the other hand, were created by Jerome Navarro.

“Fierce against injustice and at the service of those in need. ‘Have no fear, ’cause Darna is here!'” the Miss Universe Philippines organization said on its Facebook post showcasing Celeste’s national costume.

MUPH said that the Philippine bet embodied “a cultural icon that symbolizes kindness, empathy, and empowerment.”

The national costume segment is among the highlights of the Miss Universe pageant. This is when delegates are given the chance to display an ensemble that best represents their country or their country’s culture.

Darna in Philippine culture is a character created for “Pilipino Komiks” by writer Mars Ravelo and artist Nestor Redondo post-war.

She was based on Ravelo’s first superheroine, Varga, a female version of the popular Superman.

Darna in the comics was described as having “the charm of Venus, the Roman goddess of beauty and love; the fortitude of Apollo, the Greek god of eloquence and of the Sun; and the strength of Samson, the Biblical hero of great strength.”

The comics tells the story of Narda, who transforms into the superheroine when she swallows a tiny meteorite and shouts the name of the otherworldly warrior.

Darna is said to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves and fight common criminals, as well as greater forces of evil.

She is currently being portrayed on television by Jane de Leon in ABS-CBN’s series, “Mars Ravelo’s Darna.”

Meanwhile, Celeste’s national costume in the beauty pageant impressed some of her fellow Pinoys familiar with the local cultural icon.

“If anyone can pull off Darna, it’s CELESTE!!!!!!!” Miss Universe Philippines 2021 top 16 finalist Ayn Bernos exclaimed. “Let’s go!!!!”

“I am soooo happy Celeste’s costume allowed her to really move and project! She slayed this (emojis) DAAAARNA!!!” she added.

“Finally, they used the iconic ‘Darna’ as a national costume [on] Miss Universe stage! Fans have been requesting it for so long, and today, the Filipina hero showed up [on] the most prestigious international stage! ANG GANDA MO, CELESTE CORTESI!” another Twitter user said.

“Finally!!! A Darna costume in the #MissUniverse stage for the Philippines!” another Pinoy commented.

“Yowwwwwwww, Darna is in New Orleans,” a different user said with emojis of the Philippine flag and a heart-on-fire.

“A very nice way to showcase the strength and beauty of a Filipina. And Darna is the perfect embodiment,” wrote another Pinoy.

JRB Creative Production, the production unit behind “Mars Ravelo’s Darna,” also acknowledged the Philippine bet’s choice of national costume.

“Ipakita ang nagliliyab na lakas, galing at ganda ng Pinay! Fly High Celeste! Bring Home the Crown,” it said on Twitter.

“We are proud of Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi for championing Darna on the world stage through the 71st Miss Universe national costume competition,” its program statement read.

“The Ravelo family extends their full support, gratitude, and excitement for the opportunity to show Darna to a global audience through our country’s official Miss Universe representative,” it added.

“We hope that, like our beloved Filipino superheroine, Celeste will continue to serve as a source of inspiration and empowerment for women all over the world,” the statement further said.

In August last year, a Darna-inspired sketch of a national costume gained buzz on social media after the show premiered on television.

“We’re not forgetting this #Darna-inspired national costume by Ryan Brix Ochenta for Miss Philippines for the Miss Sketch Universe 2021 Competition,” Miss Sketch Universe said before.

Fashion illustrator Ryan Brix Ochenta submitted the sketch for the Miss Sketch Universe 2021 at that time.

RELATED: Darna-inspired nat’l costume for sketch pageant gains traction anew

Celeste is competing against more than 80 delegates for the country’s fifth Miss Universe crown in the 71st edition of the prestigious beauty pageant.

The grand coronation will air on January 15 (Manila time).