Fil-Am model is a Knockout!
By Joaquin Henson
Thu, 07 Nov 2019
LOS ANGELES. She’s been on nearly every major Top Rank boxing event for the last five years and Fil-Am model C. J. (Cielo Jean) Gibson remains a fan favorite with the official round girls team called The Knockouts.
C. J., 35, was born in Clearwater, Florida to Thomas Gibson, an American of Irish-Polish-Italian descent and Filipina Cielo Jocon of Quezon City. As a kid, she used to visit the Philippines every year. Now that she lives on her own in this California city and is busy with her career, the 5-7, 115-pound C. J. hasn’t “come home” in two years.
The second youngest of six, C. J. attended St. Petersburg College in Florida and did modelling jobs until landing the gig with The Knockouts whose founder/manager is also a Fil-Am Christine Montehermosa Stokes. She’s available to do commercial and promotional work outside of Top Rank for as long as it doesn’t involve boxing. “No conflict of interest,” she said. “Of course, I’d be open to do work in the Philippines.”
C. J.’s mother migrated to the US when she was 30 and initially worked as a waitress. She then got married and raised a family. Today, she’s 77. “I just spoke with my mom who’s visiting in the Philippines,” said C. J. “She’s coming back in a few weeks with my pasalubong, papaya soap which I love.” C. J. is named after her mother Cielo and her second name Jean comes from her Filipina grandmother Eugenia.
C. J. with (from left) broadcaster Chino Trinidad, Los Angeles-based sports photographer Jhay Otamias and The Star’s Joaquin Henson in Los Angeles.
C. J. said she grew up embracing Filipino values and eating Filipino food. “My favorite is adobo but I also love lumpia, pansit, taho, bangus, sinigang and siopao,” she said. “Do I have a Filipino boyfriend? Nope.” Does she speak Pilipino? “Not fluently,” she said. “But I understand it.”
In her visits to the Philippines, C. J. said she has gone all over to enjoy the beaches, particularly in Coron. “I love the water,” she said. “I can’t wait to go back. When I visit, I stay with family in Quezon City and Sampaloc.”
As a Top Rank fixture, C. J. said interacting with boxers has become part of her life. Her most memorable engagement was the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fight in Las Vegas in 2015. “I love Manny, the way he connects with the fans, the way he fights for his country,” she said. “I was supposed to work during his fight against (Tim) Bradley but I went down with tonsillitis and was too sick to report. I really wanted to show up. Doing Manny’s fight against Mayweather was a big honor because it’s still the highest grossing pay-per-view event ever.”
C. J.’s younger sister Raquel is also a model and was Playboy Magazine’s Playmate of the Month for November 2005. C. J. has been featured in several magazines, including Maxim, FHM, American Curves, Supreme, MuscleMag International, Muscle & Fitness, Teeze and in a Bowflex ad. In 2007, C. J. appeared in a home workout video called ENVY where she was Eliana for E in ENVY. Her co-stars were Martina Andrews for N or Natasha, Kara Monaco for V or Vala and Brittany Lee for Y or Yvette. In 2009, she was Miss November in the Spring Break calendar.
In an interview on Open Your Eyes Magazine, she spoke about the stereotypes of her ethnic Filipino heritage. “I hate the rumor that we eat cats and dogs and I love that we age well,” she said. “I’m thankful for my great skin. I hope I look as young as my mom still does when I reach her age.” She described herself in three words----loyal, honest and humorous. Her favorite way to kill time? “Family comes first so maybe, take my mom to the mall then nap,” she said. “We both love to shop.” C. J. is a lot more Filipina than she looks.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.
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