21 Things You Didn’t Know About The REAL Winner Of Miss Universe 2015.
Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, was crowned Miss Universe 2015 on December 20. When I first heard the news -- Steve Harvey's major blunder aside -- I felt very proud. My family is originally from the Philippines.
Seeing a beautiful pinay on TV, or rather German-Filipina in Wurtzbach's case, is such a rare occurrence that it just feels nice to be represented in some way. While some people know where their allegiances lie, my sense of pride as a Filipino American has always been scattered.
I have identified as Filipino, whenever there was an appropriate box for it, and I have identified as American, when pop culture made more sense to me than the Ilocano language my mother grew up speaking. Though confusing, I have grown accustomed to living in this middle ground where I could pick and choose.
As I thought more deeply about the pageant, my thoughts began to turn. Wurtzbach, 26, was asked this loaded question: "Do you think the United States should have a military presence in the Philippines?"
I think that the United States and the Philippines have always had a good relationship with each other. We were colonized by the Americans and we have their culture in our traditions even up to this day. I think that we're very welcoming with the Americans and I don't see any problem with that at all.
My heart fell. Filipino scholars, activists, and members of the community together with the help of other minority groups have worked painstakingly to get history right -- its atrocities as well as its triumphs from the Filipino perspective -- and to see all those efforts being pushed back was heartbreaking.
In light of Jennifer Laude, a transgender woman who was strangled to death by a U.S. Marine in Olongapo, it is difficult -- impossible for many -- to say that there are no problems with Americans on Philippine soil.
Conversely, as one Facebook user pointed out:
What's going on inside her head and her real feelings on the issue are beside the point -- what's really alarming is the blatant use of the pageant to justify US military presence on countries such as the Philippines.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is an intelligent young woman. Though we are alike in age, she has faced the tremendous pressure of responding to a question delivered by a very Western audience as millions listened in. In my opinion, she delivered a safe answer. With a bright smile, she has expressed how complex Filipino identity is today. As a Filipino, one can speak aloud -- as many do -- and still be tight-lipped.
Before I say anything else, I simply want to congratulate Pia. I think the best way to do that is by learning more about her and sharing my findings with all of you.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was born to a German father and Filipino mother in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, on September 24, 1989.
Her hometown is Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental, Philippines. The city is known for its tourist activities such as rafting along the central river.
She worked as an actress under the name Pia Romero at age 4 and later went on to model.
Her best friend is Pauleen Luna, a 27-year-old Filipino actress. Here is an old photo from Pauleen's Instagram. The two playfully consider themselves 'twins.'
The future Miss Universe attended the ABS-CBN Distance Learning School in Quezon City.
Wurtzbach is also a graduate from the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in San Juan City.
TV Host Boy Abunda asked her a series of questions on his popular show.
He wanted to know what she would cook for President Barack Obama if given the chance. She said that she would prepare kare kare, a traditional stew made with a savory peanut sauce and meat (ox tail, tripe, pork leg, goat, or chicken meat).
When asked what she would cook for her ex-boyfriend, she said ampalaya, or bitter melon.
Pia Wurtzbach competed in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant (the stepping stone to a shot at Miss Universe) and won first runner-up in 2013.
She competed again in 2014 and placed in the Top 15.
And again in 2015. When asked about the topic of social media posting and Internet censorship during the Q&A session, she said, "I think that we should be careful about we post online, especially our thoughts and our opinions that we don’t hurt anybody, especially selfies. We have to be careful with what we post, especially with our bodies and our faces. So, always think before you click. Thank you."
Third time's a charm. She finally won the crown that year.
On why she should be the next Miss Universe: “To be a Miss Universe is both an honor and a responsibility. If I were to be Miss Universe, I will use my voice to influence the youth and I would raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant to my country which is the Philippines. I want to show the world – the universe, rather – that I am confidently beautiful with a heart.”
HO/The Miss Universe Organization
Pia received a lot of criticism for a tweet she posted following Manny Pacquiao's defeat. She stated, "It's okay guys. Don't worry, I'm in charge. I'll win it back with Miss Universe."
Host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Columbia (Ariadna Gutierrez) as Miss Universe. Though one of the most awkward moments in television history, the two women dealt with the situation as best they could.
Going back to the tweet, Pia meant what she said.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFP
On her best asset: "A lot of people say it’s my eyes, because they’re very expressive. I can’t lie. You can tell when I’m upset or when I’m genuinely happy or when I’m trying to keep a secret. That’s what people say, but I think it’s my neck and my shoulders."
Miss Universe L.P., LLLP/Matt Petit
Her national costume, a capiz terno, was created by Filipino designer Albert Andrada.
HO/The Miss Universe Organization
"If I were handed a million dollars then I would feel like I’m obligated to share it with other people because I did not earn that money. It was just given to me. I would donate part of it to charity and then [have a little] to spend with my family and friends. The rest I would give for future investments."
Like many others, Pia thinks Piolo Pascual is the sexiest man in the Philippines.
“I’d like to think of myself as a chameleon like I can pull of a lot of looks," Pia stated in an interview.
HO/The Miss Universe Organization
Philippine media outlets reported that she was romantically linked to President Noynoy Aquino. When the president's sister, Kris Aquino, who is famous in her own right, asked Pia to confirm, she replied, “I know him. I talk to him, he’s very fun to talk to."
Pia dreams of being the next Bond girl.
Personally, I am looking forward to the work Miss Universe 2015 can do with HIV awareness.
Source: Cover photo: AFP via BBC