MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach honored her sister, Sarah Alonzo Wurtzbach, in a touching moment at a Downy event on Wednesday, March 8, International Women's Day at the Shangri-La Hotel in Taguig City.
Pia honored Sarah at the event launching her, Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, KC Concepcion, and Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) executive director Emmeline Verzosa as ambassadors for the Downy Parfum Collection.
Aptly, the event was held on International Women's Day, with the brand embarking on a campaign called #NeverFade, with the goal of celebrating women's lasting impact given their excellent work in various fields, and reflecting on what it is to have a meaningful legacy. The concept ties to Downy's new product, which improves on the original by making the fragrance longer-lasting even in humid conditions.
During the evening's most touching moment, the 4 women named a number of women closest to their hearts, who were integral to the ladies' success in life.
Pia actually surprised her sister Sarah, who had no idea that she was about to be called onstage and honored with a heartfelt speech about how Sarah never failed to support Pia, even during some of her journey's toughest moments.
Here is her full speech:
"I actually didn't tell Sarah that she was going to be onstage tonight, she said she was going to kill me if that happens, so you guys, it might be my last day.
"When you join pageants, many times, you're put in a position when you're in front of the world basically, and when you don't make it, you know, there are moments when you start to feel embarrassed, when you start doubting yourself, and then I remember this really one night before I really made the firm decision of joining Miss Philippines again for the 3rd time when I eventually won.
"I was in the UK with her, I was lounging on her couch, and then I just couldn't stop talking about Miss Universe. And then she tells me, Pia, I'm tired of this, I'm tired of hearing about Miss Universe, just go, just do it...and she was more sure than me that I would make it. And Sarah's never watched me compete in a pageant, the only time she actually did was during Miss Unvierse – maybe she is my lucky charm – I never actually got to publicly thank her.
"Sarah, thank you so much for pushing me to join, I saw her actually when I won, she was crying, she was going, 'You did it! You did it! Your dream came true.' And I felt like when my dream came true, it's like her dream came true as well.
"Sarah's a very strong person. She empowered me to be the kind of woman that I want to be and you know what, she still applies that to herself as well. She's a great mom, I have a two-year-old niece and she takes care of the family, she's a great businesswoman and although she's younger than me, I still learn so much from her."
Sarah beamed as Pia cheered her on onstage. The siblings are close – Sarah and her daughter Lara are often seen on Pia's Instagram.
#FilterSister @sarahwurtzbach A post shared by Pia Wurtzbach | Miss Universe (@piawurtzbach) on Feb 10, 2017 at 4:03am PST
It was an emotional evening for the featured guests and the women they went out of their way to honor. Emmeline from the PCW honored her female colleagues who fought human trafficking and sought to protect women from the sex trade. In another of the evening's touching moments, KC Concepcion also surprised her childhood househelp Nanay Lina, who thought she was there to support KC. Bianca Gonzalez-Intal honored her own mom Ofel.
Pia, who is signed to IMG for the next 3 years and is set to be a guest judge in Asia's Next Top Model season 5, looked back on her pageant dreams as a child, and what they mean to her today: "I remember as a little girl watching pageants like Miss Universe, I watched the pageant and I looked at all the candidates and I thought to myself, 'Wow, I want to be like her when I grow up.' And then now that I've been given this blessing to be Miss Universe, you know, I don't think just because my reign is over, it means that I should stop. Because one day, or I think even up to now, I really hope so, that somebody's gonna see me, gonna watch me, gonna look at me, and say, 'I wanna be like her.' The same way that I dreamt of being Miss Universe watching the girls onstage as a kid. So to me, a truly Never Fade Filipina is one that creates a legacy, not a moment." – Rappler.com