With lives profoundly altered in a time of crisis, Pia Wurtzbach shares the key to not lose sight of who you are and what you deserve.
Let’s admit it—the first thing that comes into our mind when we hear the name Pia Wurtzbach is Miss Universe. Now, while being associated with that title is great and all, unfortunately, there’s a tendency in people’s perception of her to overshadow the true character of who she is. Because, honestly speaking, she is Miss Beyond Beautiful (with a heart).
Our lives have categorically changed upon entering a new decade, where a crisis has compounded and reordered society in dramatic ways, for better and well, worse. There are no exceptions to the pandemic, regardless of your current state in life. During our time in total isolation, we have inadvertently learned new things about ourselves, our family and friends, and even our own government. It is at this time that our character as a mere human being is tested. Questions such as: What should I do? Who should I help?How do I spread light and love to others?
Being rooted in quarantine is challenging. Not only is our movement limited within the four corners of our homes, but our perception of time is also disoriented. Even for a woman like Pia Wurtzbach, she admits that being in isolation is difficult. “I miss seeing people, connecting, and talking about our plans, our ideas, our ambitions in life,” she shares. “But I know it’s [for] the best, and a bit of short term difficulty for the wider good of society and for long term safety is essential.” Needless to say, she has learned a whole lot ore about the importance of friendships. “It taught me how lucky we are to have people in our lives that care about us. Adjusting through technology helped me [stay] connected with friends here at home and overseas, as well as my family in the UK,” she admits. “And while it’s not quite the same…it’s always so nice to see a friendly face and share a laugh or joke.”
Reality of Life
Upon looking at Pia Wurtzbach’s life now, one could easily say she has already achieved a successful and happy life, clinching what others would often call as living the dream. While this may be, people often forget that her journey to the top wasn’t like following one straight line. In fact, Pia was also confronted by a lot of obstacles she needed to overcome. “I had a very interesting childhood. Definitely there were a lot of ups and downs,” she reminisces. “Life back then [in Cagayan de Oro] was good, we had a big house, and we were comfortable. But then my parents separated when I was 11 years old and everything changed.”
The realities of life hit her family hard. Shortly after, she stepped up to become the breadwinner through her acting and modeling gigs. “It was an unusual childhood, having to carry the responsibility of supporting your family at a young age. [And even] the little earning I got from these gigs would barely be enough to help us get by,” she admits. But it all worked out in the end. “I learned not to take my education for granted and to work hard. It was tough, but it taught me a lot of valuable life lessons that I still carry with me to this day,” Pia assures. Perhaps it’s safe to assume that having this distinct perseverance at a young age could be attributed to the women who surrounded her.
The Diamond At The End
You’ve probably seen the cartoon illustration of a miner who gave up as he’s about to unravel the diamond haven. It’s actually a nice reminder that patience is a virtue and we must keep on going, never losing sight of why we do what we do. One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting once we’re overtaken by temporary defeat—and that’s fine because we’re all human. Sometimes we’re just too tired and frustrated to keep fighting. However, in times of life’s setbacks, it’s really crucial to keep in mind the veracity of who you are. Pia herself explains, “I think I’ve been living in this constant struggle of being accepted, finding my purpose, and a sense of family. Somehow I never gave up, and I always felt like there were better days ahead waiting for me. I think it’s the Filipino in me. It’s in our blood. We don’t give up that easily. No matter how hard things get.”
Lo and behold, in 2015, she found herself—quite literally—acquiring the diamond at the end of the tunnel upon winning the most prestigious crown in the pageant world. “I’ve always believed in the power of positivity and the ability we have to help each other if we just reach out and try,” the beauty queen claims.
With her following across her social media accounts, she made it a point to utilize it in connecting with everyone all over the globe, reminding them to hold on and remember that this too shall pass. In doing so, she actually empowers each of us that by doing our part—whether it’s by simply staying at home or wearing masks—a better future is slowly and surely within our reach.
“Feeling empowered and trying to empower others is something I live my life by, and I feel so encouraged to see movements around the world empowering those whose voices have not been heard as easily as they should,” Pia explains. Because once we recognize this shared responsibility of a collective effort, the skies could just be our limit. Think of a rainbow coloring the sky in a gradient of breathtaking colors after a bout of rain for example—it always symbolized success, hope, and fortune. In fact, hoisting a rainbow flag today would tend to be used as a sign of a new era, of hope, or of social change. To dream about a rainbow depicts the different colors of life. These colors bring new hopes to your imagination, perhaps rekindling what was our life like in our youth.
Fighting the Good Fight
It’s without a doubt that our lives after lockdown would change. The pandemic has exposed our weaknesses and most importantly, reminding us about how interconnected we all are. After having experienced such trials, we now better understand our real power to create a better, stronger, resilient, and inclusive future for all.
The thing about real change is that it requires true empathy, wherein it is more than just feeling because it is doing, too. For it to happen, we are obliged to put actions into our words. A perfect example of this would be Pia Wurtzbach’s main advocacy in Miss Universe: HIV Awareness. The reason she chose to focus on it is that she noticed beauty queens aren’t shedding light on this important matter.
“There was a lot of stigma and misinformation around it. I’m naturally a very inquisitive person, so when I saw that there were only a few advocates, I asked myself: bakit kaya? And so I went for it,” the beauty queen recounts. In doing so, she found her purpose and a sense of family she was looking for all her life. Not only did she help herself, but the LGBTQIA+ community as well who have been battling the wrong notions regarding HIV. This proves to us that what the society needs isn’t cancel culture, such as whenever we see someone like a pageant queen not utilizing her platform well enough. We must ingrain in our minds that as we know more, we have a bigger responsibility of opening the eyes of our peers. It’s about going high and never low because if we use the same tactics as theirs, we are also becoming the unnecessary noise which eventually would also define our character, just as much as their crooked perspective had defined theirs.
In order to foster change, Pia Wurtzbach explains that “it’s important never to judge a person that thinks differently to you, but instead, try to understand their perspective and help them to understand yours. Moreover, this might sound like your typical beauty pageant answer but it’s really true–education is the answer.” And in the process of attaining change, it’s imperative never to lose sight of who you are, what you deserve, and most importantly what you stand for.
“A few weeks ago, I had an online discussion with Mental Health PH and one of the lessons stood out for me. There are three S’ to remember in order to reach real change: self, society, and system,” she adds. “Yes, you are aware within yourself of what’s right and wrong, and yes, you are spreading that awareness within your society, but the system also has to change. And the one [and often forgotten] way we can change the system is to exercise our right to vote.”
It is during election time when our voices need to be heard through our vote. Each one of us counts, because, in as much as government officials are revealed who they really are in times of turmoil, we, as this nation’s people, are also revealed who we are during the elections. Some believed that their votes didn’t matter in 2016, and so, here we are reaping what we sow in the office. “Now, I’m not telling you who to vote for,” Pia clarifies. “And please don’t just copy who your peers are voting for either. Really listen, analyze, and ask yourself, who deserves my vote? What do I stand for? What is the right thing to do?”
In the long run, we must keep close to our hearts and minds that regardless of what obstacles life may throw at us, never lose hope. Soon, there will be a vibrant colorful rainbow that’ll shine brightly as the sun, signifying that real change has arrived. But before this happens, we must keep on fighting through this pandemic as well as humbly enlighten our fellow Filipinos on what truly matters in this day and age.