Pia Wurtzbach: Next PH Miss Universe should have a ‘spicy’ personality
Unknown to many, there were days when Pia Wurtzbach would feel doubtful and self-conscious when she was still living in the United States as the reigning Miss Universe 2015 because of her thick Filipino accent.
While based in New York City then, Pia said she would often “feel like I needed to tone down my Filipino accent a little bit and make it sound more American,” she recalled. “But what I realized over there was that they don’t care so much about how you pronounce things, or whether or not you speak in perfect English. It’s really all about your personality, humor and wit.”
Pia said this also applied to other beauty queen aspirants. “Don’t focus too much on changing your accent,” she pointed out. “Back in the States, they actually liked hearing my Filipino accent. People I meet there found it very endearing. Honestly, I would sometimes feel conscious of it, but it’s all about how you present yourself to people.”
Pia was born to a German father and a Filipino mother in Stuttgart, Germany. Her parents got separated when she was 9 so she, her mom and siblings moved first to Iligan City and then settled in Cagayan de Oro. She later transferred to Manila to study.
“I’m more Filipino than I am German,” Pia declared. “I guess I shouldn’t be ashamed to say that. “I grew up here, in the province. I spent so much of my life here. I adapted to a lot of Filipino manners and the culture, and observe a lot of Filipino traditions.”
Last week, Pia was introduced as the newest ambassador of the Filipino-owned fast-food chain Jollibee, particularly its tuna pie product. “Tuna pie has been a comfort food for me. Back in high school, when I was still studying at ABS-CBN’s Distance Learning Center, I remember buying it every day from the Jollibee kiosk in our building. This brings back a lot of memories for me,” said Pia during the launch on Friday of the product’s “Crispy and Creamy Two-na Sarap, Original or Spicy Jollibee Tuna Pie” campaign.
Asked to comment on who should be the next Miss Universe—someone with a personality that’s sweet or spicy—Pia replied: “We’re done with the era that celebrates pa-sweet beauty queens. I feel that the next Miss Universe should have a spicy personality. When she walks into a room, she should catch your attention right away.”
Pia further explained: “Being sweet is something that’s already given. As a beauty queen, you know that you should be relatable to people, that you should be authentic—and that makes you sweet. But you should also have that “it” factor, and the confidence that will make you spicy.”
Pia, meanwhile, said she has no role in the upcoming Miss Universe Philippines pageant, but she would be willing to spend time with the contestants “if they need me to come in and do a pep talk with the girls. Right now, I’m trying to focus on my career. This year, I also want to get into business.”
The beauty queen-actress was supposed to do a film with comedian Vhong Navarro, but she said there had been a slight delay in its production because of “something internal. They’re just fixing something in the script. Vhong and I are ready. We’re just waiting for the go signal to shoot again,” she explained.
She added: “I will definitely have fun with this role. I play a crazy girlfriend, a super jealous one. It’ll be like ‘Gone Girl,’ but it’s comedy. It’s fun because I’d get to do things that I otherwise won’t be able to do in real life.”
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