The value of hard work and determination, a good song to get you through the rough times, and a reminder that beauty queens are human too — these were part of our learnings from a tete-a-tete with Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach on January 24 at Novotel in Araneta Center, Quezon City.
“Pia is such a lovely young woman. A woman with such grace, such an old soul, so philosophical, and has a way of saying things,” began Paula Sugart, the president of the Miss Universe organization. “Just the other day, you said, ‘Always have a goal but be flexible on how to get to your goal.’ I know by the end of the year, I will be a better person from listening to you.”
We didn’t need a whole year. With immense grace, ease and candor, Pia answered quite wide range of questions — from clarifying her US bases answer to the state of her love life. By the end of the press conference, we’d become better, and more inspired persons just by listening to the queen.
Below are some of the most memorable and quotable quotes from Pia Sunday afternoon.
On reaching for and believing in your dreams:
“I am so proud that I was finally able to bring back home the crown. I’ve always believed that it will happen. It was a long journey getting here. I hope that my story can become an inspiration of determination, discipline, faith, and hard work. I hope even after the Miss Universe pageant, I hope people learn this lesson from me: never give up on their dreams, because you never know, it could happen to you!”
On what she plans to do about the HIV problem:
“To remove the stigma, somebody has to step forward and do something so other people will follow suit. I will have myself tested in New York, it will be a public testing, so that I can show everybody how easy it is to do and how important it is. Hopefully, this will help in removing that social stigma. One challenge that I want to demystify (about the disease) is that you can’t live a normal life if you have this disease. With the right treatment, you can live a normal life. It’s also about educating people that they don’t have to treat people with HIV/AIDS differently.”
On having a stronger American presence in the Philippines:
“From what I understand, “military presence” is different from “military bases”. “Military presence” to me sounds like aide, help, security. So it doesn’t sound negative at all. That’s why I stick by my answer.”
On the critics of her American presence answer:
“The reason I think why they had such strong opinions about this is because it’s different when you’re sitting and you’re watching it on TV and you’re given the time to think about the answer. You have to take into consideration what it felt like for me to stand there, hear the question, and then think of the answer right away. If some people feel very strongly against it, I respect their opinion. If they ever want to talk to me about their stand on it, I would gladly listen. I’m open to listening to their opinions as well.”
On loving yourself:
“After they pinned the sash on me during the first day of fitting, I stepped in front of the mirror, because I wanted to see how I looked wearing a sash with “Philippines” on it. I took a mental photo of myself wearing the sash and I kind of hugged myself. I was so happy.”
On her love life — or lack thereof:
“I don’t have a boyfriend. I didn’t have a boyfriend during the competition. Although I thought I was seeing somebody, but turns out, I wasn’t. Kita mo, kahit Miss Universe ka, puwede ka pa rin maging sawi. Hashtag: Team Sawi.”
On having a song to calm your nerves:
“I would sing this line in my head while I was competing in Bb. Pilipinas and during Miss Universe as well. When you join a competition, it’s very competitive, it’s scary. The way I would calm myself down would be to sing [this line from Alphaville’s “Forever Young”]: “Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst, are we gonna drop the ball or not?”
On wearing the crown:
“When I won that night, we went back to the suite, I was able to say “hi” to my family and friends. By the end of the night, people were asking, “Don’t you want to rest? Maybe take it off?” because I had already been wearing (the crown) for hours. I said: “No. I’m okay. It feels right.”
On believing she had won:
“For the first few days, I would open the box to check if it was still there. There was one time, I thought: Has anybody actually slept with the crown? I took a nap with it beside me. When I woke up, I decided to put it back in the box because I thought: Baka matabig ko pa ito, mahulog pa ito! Filipinos would hate me!”
On staying the course:
“You can’t let go. You have to really believe that you can and you will and it’s not gonna be easy at all. It might take a while. You have to keep working hard.
Don’t let anything distract you. Work hard, every day, you should be working towards your goal. There’s no time to slack off and sit and wait for your dream to come true. Nothing is ever given to you for free. You work hard for it. Don’t lose your faith, that’s the most important thing. You will encounter challenges that will frustrate you, but don’t ever lose your faith. That’s what will keep everything intact.”
On living your dream:
“This is what I’ve been wanting, I have no right to complain. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a kid, and now I’m going to complain? No. I accept whatever is thrown at me.”<