While hopes are high Miss Philippines Celeste Cortesi’s Darna-powered performance in the lead-up to the grand coronation night of the 71st Miss Universe pageant will snag the crown, there’s another Filipina who deserves the nation’s applause and support come Saturday night in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA (Sunday morning in Manila).
Actually, it will be this lady kabayan’s fourth consecutive outing at the world’s most prestigious beauty contest, and no, she isn’t breaking any rules. In fact, she’s considered a very crucial partner in the candidates’ journey to the crown as provider of the ladies’ all-important skincare routine during the most exciting and likewise stressful time of their lives.
Pageant fans will know that the other Filipina who is always participating at Miss U is Filipino businesswoman Olivia Quido-Co, CEO and Founder of the successful O Skin Med Spa chain in California. Her inspiring American dream story — Olivia bravely left Manila and started giving facials in the smallest four-by-four spot in LA only to become one of the biggest go-to beauty places across the state — is well known among the Filipino community abroad and here at home as well.
This year, however, Olivia isn’t just the skincare partner of Miss Universe but one of its esteemed judges on pageant night.
Excitedly confirming the news via Zoom this week, the lovely and ever-effervescent Olivia confessed, “Matagal ko na siyang alam pero ganun ko siya itinago. I’m so excited to be part of the Miss Universe selection committee. We’re here in New Orleans and The Miss Universe fever is for real.”
Besides Olivia, the rest of the panel comprises American rapper Big Freedia, American radio and TV host Myrka Dellanos, Miss Universe 2010 Ximena Navarrete, Roku Vice President of Growth Marketing and Merchandising Sweta Panel; Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam; sports journalist Emily Austin; Miss USA 2015 Olivia Jordan; and ImpactWayv Chief Marketing Officer Kathleen Ventrella.
It means a lot to Olivia that she was asked to be a judge this year since it is the first edition of Miss Universe under new owners. While Paula Shughart remains president of the organization Thailand’s Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, Chief Executive Officer of JKN Global Group, now owns the franchise.
Olivia already met with lady boss and is happy to relay that her partnership with the prestigious brand is as strong as ever. It also seems the two power women are already forging a friendship.
“Anne invited me to attend the Miss Universe Gala Night in Thailand. Super VIP ang treatment niya sa amin. She’s super gracious and super generous. Tapos she has a bubbly personality kaya nagkasundo kami,” shared Olivia.
“Then she called me. She invited me to New Orleans for a city tour with her close friends. Then we went to her room and chatted for a while. We were holding hands while walking all the time. I really had a great time with her. She also invited me to go to New York with her. [I feel blessed] isipin na gusto niya tayong kasama.
While she cannot mingle with Celeste or any other candidate this year being judge, Olivia says it’s just as well so everyone will know she is fair. Add to that, she is already an expert in beauty and Miss U given the last three years. There’s no doubt then Filipina will do is proud.
“As judge kinausap na kami kung ano ang mga criteria na hinahanap namin. Speaking for myself, I’m going to be a fair judge. I will look beyond the sash. Titignan natin yung personality kung magaling ba magsalita, magaling ba ang stage presence, ang communication skills, and how she carries herself.
“Whoever the winners are, we will spend time with them sabi ni Anne. We will walk in Manhattan with the new beauty queens.
Deep into the preliminary activities, Olivia assured everyone she is taking care of herself for the big night too. Besides using her trademark 24 Karat skincare routine, she makes time for the gym to prepare her figure for her knockout gown.
“Marami nag o-offer to sponsor my gown from the Latin American countries but of course Pilipino ang designer ko. Pero secret muna!”