Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, a.k.a. Miss Philippines, a.k.a. Miss Universe 2015, is more than just a pretty face. Sure, her Miss Universe win might not have been the most conventional of victories, but that isn’t to say she is any less deserving as the other contestants.
The Miss Universe 2015 winner was born to a German father and Filipino mother on September 24, 1989 in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and has a sister who is three years younger than her. She grew up at Golden Village in Barangay Carmen, Cagayan de Oro. There, she attended kindergarten at Kong Hua School and primary school at Corpus Christi.
At age eleven, she became an Avon model, subsequently transferring to Pasig City and attending secondary school there. “At school, I was a wallflower. I was always the last person in [our] flag ceremony queue because I was the tallest in class,” she recalled of her school days. “And it was difficult to have a crush because you are too tall for the boy.”
At age four, she worked as an actress and was managed by ABS-CBN’s theatrical agency, Star Magic, under the name Pia Romero. Some of her television credentials include the teen-oriented series K2BU, concert variety program ASAP, the romance anthology Your Song, the sitcom show Bora, and the drama series Sa Piling Mo.
Additionally, the stylist and makeup artist has also starred in films such as Kung Ako Na Lang Sana (2003), All My Life (2004), and All About Love (2006). Wurtzbach completed her secondary education at ABS-CBN Distance Learning School in Quezon City, and went on to become a graduate of Professional Culinary from the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in San Juan, Metro Manila.
Of her stint as a contributing writer of the lifestyle section in the Philippine Daily Inquirer — where she makes cosmetics reviews — Wurtzbach said, “I was discovered by accident. They said, you know what, you can write. So I started with small stories.”
“Hanggang sa kaya na (Until I got the hang of things), then I do the makeup myself,” she continued, “sometimes ako yung writer (sometimes I’m the writer), sometimes I am also the model and the writer. I do it once every two weeks, whenever there is a new brand of cosmetics to review. That started when I was the first runner up.”
Wurtzbach is the image of perseverance and hard work, having attempted the Binibining Pilipinas pageant twice before finally winning the third time around to represent the Philippines in Miss Universe 2015. She first joined in 2013 where she won first runner-up, followed by her setback in 2014 where she landed in the top 15.
“I thought I could make it. I was really hurt though,” she said of Binibining Pilipinas. “Then I took a break. And that’s when I realized I really wanted it. When I became a runner-up, I told myself that I needed to get the crown. But the next try was unfortunate. But that didn’t stop me to join again.”
Of her previous attempts, Wurtzbach shared, “I thought too much of what other people wanted me to become. I molded myself too much to the looks of the Miss Universe. I tried to transform myself to something I was not. This year’s pageant, I taught to love myself. That this is how I talked and that my skin is not kayumanggi (tan skin of the Filipinos); thus I become more of myself.”
For her previous Binibining Pilipinas attempts, Wurtzbach was criticized for being a ‘try-hard,’ as she repeatedly joined the pageant year after year since 2013. “People are saying na trying hard daw ako (People are saying that I’m a try-hard),” she said after winning the title on her third try.
“Yeah, I try hard talaga (Yeah, I really do try hard). I try very hard. I try very hard because this is what I want.”
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