Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach from Philippines was just another face in the local showbiz before she was crowned Miss Universe. The small town girl from Cagayan de Oro possesses style, charisma, personality and she always wears a sweet smile; a smile that symbolizes gratitude, ambition, elegance and strength.But how did a simple, sweet and dreamy girl like Pia achieve such a great feat?
Pia’s life growing up wasn’t easy. She was born on September 24 1989 at Stuttgart, Germany. Her mother is a Filipino and her father was a German. She has one sister who is two years younger than her. Since Pia’s mother is a big fan of Miss Universe pageants, Pia developed a passion for beauty pageants from a young age. Back then, little Pia would try on her mother’s shoes and do the catwalk for her. Her mom would then ask her questions during their “role-play” sessions and one of which was, “What’s the essence of a woman, Pia?”Of course, Pia was only a kid back then and would not be able to answer such a question.
When Pia was eleven, her parents separated and she followed her mother to the Philippines. Life was difficult for them and as Pia was the eldest, she went to work as a child model and actress to support her family. For some, the idea of a child working may seem abhorrent, but in Pia’s case, the hardship was somehow a blessing in disguise.She was known by her stage name, Pia Romero and was managed by ABS-CBN’s theatrical agency Star Magic which later provided her with education.
Pia appeared mostly on TV shows after her acting debut at twelve. Her first show was a teen-oriented series titledK2BU in 2002. Following the success of this series, she later starred in the romance musical anthology Your Song in 2007. It was during these times that she started to cultivate the interest for beauty pageants. Although Pia did think about joining the Miss Universe pageant, she abandoned the idea as her family was relying on her income as an actress.
Pia isn’t just all beauty; she’s a beauty with intelligence and skills.She finished her secondary education at ABS-CBN Distance Learning School at Metro Manila. After high school, Pia went on to study culinary arts at the Centre for Asian Culinary Studies in San Juan, Metro Manila. After leaving school, she worked as a stylist and makeup artist. She then worked as a beauty writer for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of Philippines most reputed tabloids.
Pia’s journey into the world of beauty pageantry was filled with challenges. It took her three tries to win the Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Universe Philippines) title and although it was painful and tiring, Pia never gave up. She first joined the competition in 2013 and finished as the first runner-up, but her second attempt saw her not winning any title after the question-and-answer session. During that session Philippines Senator Sonny Angara, one of the judges, asked Pia a question in Tagalog and she replied in the same tongue.Online commentators wondered if Pia had lost points with the international judges when she did so. Pia was a little disappointed when she lost in her first try, but this second loss left her devastated as it ended worse than her first. However, she pulled herself together, regained her confidence and went back for more last year. Pia once again gave all she had and that night, Pia was crowned Binibining Pilipinas(Miss Universe Philippines) 2015, the highest award of that pageant.
Winning that title was Pia’s ticket to international stardom. While she finally won the title that she had been vying for the past three years, she realized that the real deal was just around the corner and the game now has new players. Hence, Pia trained hard day and night, weekdays and weekends alike, and she prayed hard for her victory. She realized that she now represents her country on the grand stage and there are no more second chances. Life for her was about Miss Universe and nothing more.
For Pia, the three-year long wait since 2013 was the hardest part of her career. Her failures left her wondering if this was the right path for her and there were times she asked herself if this was what she really wanted. But, Pia being Pia,was persistent, stubborn and still chasing for glory and her mission this time was the Miss Universe title.
Finally, the day she had been waiting for has finally arrived. 15 beauties from 15 different countries flaunted their beauty and intelligence in The Axis, Las Vegas. The competition was tight and as time went by, Pia got nervous watching her fellow contestants leaving with broken hearts and hopes one after the other. Slowly and surely, it came down to the final three; Philippines, Colombia and USA. Drama kicked off when it came down to the final three when host Steve Harvey caused “the biggest blunder of 2015” by announcing the wrong name as the winner. Steve first announced Ariadna Gutierrez from Colombia as the winner of Miss Universe 2015 and Pia from Philippines as the first runner-up. Pia heard Steve the first time loud and clear and she was content. She did give her level best after all and being the first-runner up for Miss Universe is a big achievement by itself. But no, it wasn’t quite over yet. Steve came back on stage with a nervous look on his face. This time, he said, “I have to apologize, the first-runner up is Colombia, and the winner for Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines.” Well, everyone including Ariadna and Pia reacted in disbelief and only when the tiara was taken from Ariadna’s head and placed on Pia’s head, did reality sink in.
Was there ever a time you wish you could say “you should have seen the look on your face” to someone so badly? Pia was too stunned at that moment to feel anything and she even had that stunned look on her pretty face when she was being crowned. She couldn’t comprehend what happened until she shed tears of joy to her heart’s content backstage. It was a huge victory for her and for her beloved country. The beauty pageant has a significant impact and a huge fan base in Philippines as the nation has won the title twice in the past; the last time was when Margie Moran brought the title back home in 1973. Now, after 42 years of title drought, Pia has delivered the 3rdvictory for Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant and the nation celebrated as“Queen” Pia stepped foot on her home ground.
Pia Wurtzbach, whose life is one which is driven by dreams and struggle, has proved that you can achieve anything you put your heart, mind and soul into it. Pia may have been a small-town girl, but thanks to her persistence, willpower, faith and beauty, the 2015 Miss Universe winner now reigns as “Queen” in the hearts of millions.