Pia Wurtzbach looks back on challenges before snagging Miss Universe crown in 2015

Aside from her natural splendor and mesmerizing grace, another thing that many people love about Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach is her impressive wit and innate comedic talent, which she’s able to showcase in her social media posts, media interviews, and stint in the ABS-CBN sitcom My Papa Pi.

And we’re able to further see more of her lighthearted facet through her recent appearance in the YouTube channel of Dra. Vicki Belo, wherein they talked about her unforgettable experiences in Binibining Pilipinas and Miss Universe – just in time for the latter’s 71st coronation night this coming January 15 that will air and stream on multiple ABS-CBN platforms

Although it has already been seven years since Pia ended the title drought of the Philippines in the said pageant by taking home the crown during the controversial 64th edition in 2015, Dra. Vicki, who’s a self-confessed Miss Universe aficionado, wanted Pia to share to everyone some of her most memorable moments during her remarkable stint.

They initially talked about the process that Binibining Pilipinas used to follow in choosing the gowns that would be worn by the candidates during her time. The 33-year-old beauty queen-actress disclosed that they actually used to not have the liberty to choose what kind, color, or cut of gown they would like to wear in the competition as Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc chair Stella Marquez-Araneta was in full control of everything.

She also mentioned that there used to be a myth that whoever was assigned a white gown would be the winner, which she never had the chance to wear in the three times that tried her luck in the pageant. And that myth was proven to be false as she was in a black asymmetrical frock when she won in 2015.

When she was chosen to represent the country in the Miss Universe competition held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Pia confessed that she actually struggled in choosing the gown she would use as she was torn between obeying what Madam Stella would dictate her and following what her heart was telling her.

As she received affirmations on how she looked great in the blue frock that she sashayed during an event, she collated the pictures of her in any blue outfit and mustered the courage to talk to Madam Stella to let her wear a blue gown. However, she had not heard from her ever since, until a few days prior to the coronation night when she called her, giving her the permission to wear anything she liked as long as she’s sure that she would snag the title.

Aside from her main gown, Pia also recounted her struggles with regards to pitching herself to magazines and photographers in for them to feature her and help her have some ‘pasabog’ or publicity before the competition, as well as to her attires for the series of Miss Universe activities, the preliminary round, and the national costume. The wardrobe she had then may not be as strong compared to the other contestants, but she chose to not herself worry about that so much as she vowed to keep up in the pageant proper.

While celebrities like her are so cautious when it comes to reading comments on social media, Pia revealed that it actually somehow helped her in a way during that time. Some could be hurtful, especially when it’s from Filipinos, but it’s through the constructive criticisms and remarks that somehow served as her guide.

With everything that she went through then, Pia is extremely grateful for the people who helped her get through those, such as her best friend who picked up the gowns she borrowed from Los Angeles-based Pinoy fashion designer (and one of her heroes) Oliver Tolentino and renowned Pinoy designer Albert Andrada who made her now-iconic serpentine gown and last minute Filipiniana national costume.

“So, kung hindi ko pinupush ‘yong mga bagay, hindi siya mangyayari. Like ‘yong costume, ‘yong gown, ‘yong pumili ng blue, ‘yong mga pasabog shoots ko noon, ‘yong mga test shoot na sumisingit ako sa shoot. Kung hindi ako magte-text sa mga photographers, sa mga makeup artist, sa mga magazine, baka wala, wala akong mapo-post,” she conveyed her realization, to which Dra. Vicki remarked that she was a one-woman team then.

Pia continued, “Ngayon, it’s a good thing na as soon as you win Miss Philippines or you become Miss Philippines, lumalapit na sa’yo ang mga tao. Automatic na ‘yon. Actually, stressful pa nga kasi ang daming nag-o-offer and then you’re trying to decide which one will be the best fit for you. But at that time, you have to gather people around you and convince them that them taking a risk on you with their time and their money will not be a waste. And also, you wanna give back after you win. Kukunin mo rin sila for work stuff para sa mga mga event.”

She also brought us to the closed-door interview, wherein she had to answer the various questions asked by a panel, back-to-back with Miss Peru. Two of the questions asked to her were “Are you in favor of beauty queens who want to go ‘under the knife’ to win Miss Universe?” and “How would you describe a beauty queen to a 7-year-old boy?”, to which she had truly intelligent responses.

Moreover, she enthusiastically recalled, as well, her preparations a few hours before the competition and the other behind-the-scenes happenings that we might not have heard yet. She reminisced about devouring cookies from the buffet after the swimsuit competition, which helped her radiate a different glow because she’s full as she stepped on the stage anew and be filled with energy and be in the proper headspace during the question and answer portion.

Pia then took to the final question and answer round wherein she uttered her now-iconic statement, “I wanna show the world, the universe rather, that I am confidently beautiful with a heart,” which she already had in mind ever since she was still preparing. She also asked for the divine guidance of her grandmother and father, who both already passed away.

When it was announced that she was the first runner-up, Pia confessed that the first person that came into her mind was Miss Universe-Philippines 2012 Janine Tugonon, to whom she almost had the same fate with. She didn’t feel disappointed during that moment as she was still in shock, but disclosed that she would have probably poured her heart out as soon as she go back to her hotel room.

Although host Steve Harvey declared that there was a mix-up and she was really the winner, she couldn’t help but feel sorry about Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrrez, who was already wearing the crown and sash then and waiting to be cued to the victory walk. She thinks that she would surely feel the same if she was in her shoes and she has no idea if Miss Colombia was or is mad at her because of what happened.

Their fun and insightful conversation, right? We’re looking forward for part 2, Dra. Vicki Belo!