The DarLentina ship is sailing the international seas.
The national costume and evening gown segment at pageants are always the most-anticipated portion and for a good reason. It’s the part where queens can be the most creative: showcasing their culture whether it’s a jab on mythology, history, identity, pop culture or even the most mundane of things that remind you of your homeland. For Miss Universe Celeste Cortesi and Miss Intercontinental Gabby Basiano, they decided to leave the world, the universe rather, in shambles when they showed up as legendary comic characters (and gay icons if you will) as Darna and Valentina during their respective segments, as one twitter user points out.
TBH, we would never have imagined seeing these heroes (we’re Valentina apologists, sorry not sorry) being represented on such a grand stage considering it’s an unconventional decision for both queens, but we’re here for it!
Gabby Basiano was slithering when she showed up at last year’s Miss Intercontinental 2022 evening gown segment as Valentina. Created by designers Ken Batino and Jevin Salaysay, the stunning gown featured gold chains, multi-colored Swarovski crystals and a headpiece that later on revealed a golden snake wrapped around like a crown on her head. Reveals will always be a signature move for Gabby Basiano and she together with her team have outdone themselves yet again. Living for the drama of it all.
Celeste Cortesi on the other hand was a complete stunner when she walked as Darna during the national costume portion of Miss Universe preliminaries. Designed by Oliver Tolentino and accessories by Jerome Navarro, we couldn’t help but say, “Ding, ang korona!” upon seeing Celeste dominate the stage as the Filipino heroine. She even got the stamp of approval from the family of Darna’s creator himself, Mars Ravelo. The superhero’s armor was translated into a national costume with Celeste’s red arm bands, the knee-high boots and a huge backpiece that showed the sun and eight rays as seen on the Philippine flag. It was definitely an unforgettable moment in Filipino pageant history.
Although if we’re being for real, us, together with local pageant fans have always wondered, how come we’ve never done this earlier? Given how local pop culture is one of the most significant and complex parts of our identity. Nevertheless, Celeste Cortesi and Gabby Basiano introducing Darna and Valentina to the world was an unexpected triumph for Filipinos all over the world.