Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach: Work around your weaknesses

Alexa Villano

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Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach: Work around your weaknesses
They used to call her 'Piazilla' – but Pia's height makes her an elegant beauty queen. Here are lessons from Miss Universe PH that also work in daily life

MANILA, Philippines – It took Pia Wurtzbach 3 tries to finally achieve her dream – the top prize at the Binibining Pilipinas pageant and a shot at the Miss Universe crown as the Philippine representative. 

If there is one misconception the the reigning Miss Universe Philippines wants to address about being a beauty queen, it would be that joining pageants is the only way to inspire people.

“If there is one connotation I wanna change, it’s that you have to join a beauty pageant to be successful or inspire. That’s not true. I don’t want to give the wrong impression to girls that for you to become like me, you have to become a beauty queen,” Pia told Rappler at a recent event for Cream Silk. (Miss Universe PH Pia Wurtzbach: I’m not going to waste my victory)

WINNER. A special moment for Pia. Photo by Mark Cristino/Rappler

“It’s not like that. It just so happen that this is my job, that I am fit for this job. I am working with what I have and that’s why I am a beauty queen. But it’s different for everybody.


“You have to be aware of your strengths, your weaknesses, what you’re good at, and the things you are not good at,” she added. (IN PHOTOS: Pia Wurtzbach’s 3-year Bb Pilipinas journey)

“Work your way around them and then you find what your passion is and get the confidence from there. You don’t have to be a beauty queen or to have a crown for you to inspire other people, That’s what I want for people to learn from us, because I realized when they watch us on TV, parang the only way to become like us is to join a beauty pageant… I would hate to think they would stop to try inspiring other people just because they did not make it.”

In an article published on the Sun Star website, Pia shared how her classmates would tease her about her height, calling her “Piazilla.” She also talked about being shy. 

“At school, I was a wallflower. I was always the last person in [our] flag ceremony queue because I was the tallest in class. And it was difficult to have a crush because you are too tall for the boy,” Pia said.

“No one would notice me [before]. Sobrang average lang talaga ako, walang pumapansin. Napaka-simple ko din. I don’t have circle of friends like others. In fact, I only have one [best] friend but we lost contact after we moved out [in] CdeO. Sobrang conservative kasi ng parents ko lalo na si mama,”  she added.

( I was really average, no one would notice me. I was very simple. I don’t have circle of friends like others. In fact, I only had one [best] friend but we lost cotact after we moved out [of] CdeO. My parents were very conservative especially mama.)

TALL AND STRONG. At the evening gown competition, Bb Pilipinas 2015 coronation. Photo by Mark Cristino/Rappler

Pia also shared that she felt insecure during the pageant because she did not fit the Filipina morena look, and that she wasn’t of 100% Filipino blood. 

But she says that at this year’s pageant, where she won the crown, she took care to love and appreciate herself. 

Career change

Asked what has changed since switching her career from actress to being a beauty queen, Pia said: “ I am definitely more outspoken now. When you are an actress, you are a sponge, you absorb everything the directions given to you as actress because that’s your job. You step into the set they give you a role, you have to act out. But as a beauty queen, I play myself.  

I PLAY MYSELF. Q&A at the Bb Pilipinas coronation. Photo by Mark Cristino/Rappler

“This is who I am. Everything that’s coming out, my thoughts, my opinions, are from me. And that’s one thing I feel very different [about] because I am not playing a role but being myself. People are listening, and I really appreciate that.” – Rappler.com

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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.