MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – It was a show-stopping, emotional victory for Pia Wurtzbach, who won the Miss Universe crown for the Philippines Sunday night, December 20.
But things were not always easy for the 26-year old Filipino-German actress, model, and TV personality, who had to go through 3 tries before finally winning the Binibining Pilipinas pageant back in March for a shot at the Universe crown, just like her predecessor, MJ Lastimosa. (FULL LIST: Winners, Bb Pilipinas 2015 coronation night)
Right after she became Miss Universe Philippines, she said, “I was first runner-up in 2013 and I didn’t make it last year. Now, I finally did. It was a long journey getting here. I’m not going to waste this.” She has lived up to her promise to do her best for the country – and soon, the Philippines will welcome her back with open arms.
She now follows in the footsteps of Filipina Miss Universe winners Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margarita Moran (1973) – ending a 42-year drought for the Philippines in the prestigious pageant.
Let’s take a look at her journey, in photos.
Then 23, Pia, a set out for her first try at Bb Pilipinas in 2013.
Bb Pilipinas 2013 season: 1st runner-up finish
Bb Pilipinas 2014 season: Top 15 finish
Undeterred, Pia tried again in 2014. She did finish in the top 15, but that year was MJ Lastimosa’s year to shine.
Bb Pilipinas 2015 season: Pia wins the Miss Universe Philippines crown
Finally, in her third and final try, Pia won the Miss Universe Philippines title at the 2015 Bb Pilipinas pageant. She continued training in the hopes of a strong finish at Miss Universe pageant, competing against international beauties for the big win.
Miss Universe and the finish line
Following her Binibini win, Pia immediately began training for the Miss Universe finale – the culmination of all of her years of hard work.
Right off the bat, she made a strong impression in the preliminary rounds. But offstage, she quickly made friends with her fellow candidates, posting pictures with her friends while updating fans on the competition on social media.
Let’s take a look at some of her pictures:
Here are photos of Pia at the preliminaries:
And here she is at the Miss Universe coronation night:
Despite a major mix-up where host Steve Harvey accidentally announced Miss Colombia as the winner instead of Pia, all ladies onstage kept their composure as the issue was sorted out and Pia was crowned.
Pia’s victory was 3 years in the making, including a heartbreaking top 15 finish in 2014.
What do you think of Pia Wurtzbach’s big win? Let us know in the comments below.
Other photos by Manman Dejeto, Edric Chen, Mark Cristino, or courtesy of Bb Plipinas
More Miss Universe on Rappler:
- PH’s Pia Wurtzbach wins Miss Universe 2015
- Mix-up seen ’round the universe: Host Steve Harvey announces wrong winner
- WATCH: Miss Philippines, Miss Colombia speak up on Miss Universe 2015 mix-up
- Pro-US bases? Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach should get a briefing, activists say
- What happened? Netizens chime in on #MissUniverse2015 mixup
- WATCH: Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s triumphant winning moment
- LIVE BLOG: Miss Universe 2015 coronation night
- Palace, politicians: Thank you, Pia, for this Christmas gift
- Miss Universe 2015 predictions: Who will win the crown?
- Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach sends out message before finals
- Miss Universe PH 2015 Pia Wurtzbach asks #AlDub fans: Support me
- IN PHOTOS: Miss Universe 2015 candidates share makeup-free selfies
- LOOK: Miss Universe PH 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s national costume
- IN PHOTOS: A glimpse of the national costumes at Miss Universe 2015
- IN PHOTOS: Miss PH Pia Wurtzbach at Miss Universe preliminaries
- Miss Universe 2015: Miss Myanmar recovers from preliminary competition stumble
- Photo recap: Miss Universe 2015 preliminary competition
- Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach: I’m not going to waste my victory
- Miss Universe 2015 pageant gets a confirmed date
- 5 things to know about Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach
- N PHOTOS: Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach’s official Miss Universe photos
- Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach: Work around your weaknesses
- Emotional Pia Wurtzbach recalls challenging road to Miss Universe
- WATCH: Pia Wurtzbach wins Miss Universe PH crown
- IN PHOTOS: Recap, Miss Universe 2014-2015 coronation
- HIGHLIGHTS: Miss Universe 2014 coronation night