‘The Queens’ Pia, Carla and Bianca’s latest passion project to promote women empowerment
Beauty queen-turned-actress Pia Wurtzbach has admitted that it was tough for her to deal with her parents’ separation when it happened back when she was just 11 years old.
“I’ve had so many questions that I felt too shy to ask my mom about so I went to my friends, but then, I wasn’t sure if they were giving me sound advice so I went to self-help books instead,” the 2015 Miss Universe told reporters during a recent media gathering to launch her first-ever vlog, titled “The Queens.”
“I just know the feeling of growing up and not really having a go-to resource for my questions. Back then, I wanted to ask these questions anonymously because I didn’t want others to know I was dealing with some issues. Up until now, this is something that we don’t have yet. I’m hoping that ‘The Queens’ will grow into an even bigger community to help those who might be going through the same thing,” said Pia, who is managing the vlog with two other beauty queens, Bianca Guidotti-Santos and Carla Lizardo.
The vlog is their passion project as a way to promote women empowerment with topics ranging from beauty, womanhood, friendship, relationships, and current events.
Pia, Bianca, and Carla met while competing in 2014 and became close friends. When the pandemic hit in 2020, they started a podcast titled “Between Us Queens.” They also encouraged their listeners to take part in “women-centered conversations” via their Facebook and Discord groups. Before they knew it, they had a group of 8,000 empowered women sharing their stories, giving advice, and becoming friends.
Now, they are rebranding it to “The Queens,” with the slogan “by the queens, for the queens.” The trio also began the #WeAreAllQueens social campaign, with the goal of spreading a powerful message: “that we are queens in our own right, regardless of titles or appearances.”
Relating to the audience
The trio has also come up with self-written workbooks that tackle self-love, body image, and love, among others. These can be accessed for free every month on Thequeens.ph.
When it comes to choosing a subject to speak about in the show, Pia explained: “We would huddle and come up with topics that are interesting to us and that we feel our audience will be able to relate to. We do make sure they’re spread out, like there’s one under family—conflicts with siblings, dealing with the separation of parents—under relationships, under career, or under body image.”
Carla further said: “Occasionally, we would ask our community members outright if there’s anything they want to talk about. We are the conversation starters, but it can also go the other way around.”
Of course, there are important issues happening that they just cannot ignore, Bianca noted. “As examples, the Ukraine invasion or the recent natural disaster,” she said. “We try to still be on top of those issues because we know they are conversations that are important to have. For these, we try to get experts to talk. In this era of fake news, we want to make sure to give correct facts when it comes to different topics.”
Naturally, the girls each have their “dream guests,” or people they want to be featured in their vlog. Carla, who was an athlete and a sportscaster before joining pageants, said she would love to showcase more female athletes.
“We’ve already had Hidilyn (Diaz, weightlifter and the first Filipino to win an Olympic gold medal) on our podcast. It would be awesome to have her on the vlog, too,” said Carla, who likewise added sports stars Jack Animam (basketball) and Alyssa Valdez (volleyball) to her list.
The following are Bianca’s top 3: journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa, first Filipina forensic pathologist Raquel Fortun, and English actress-activist Emma Watson.
“I really want to speak to (Filipino American social media superstar) Bretman Rock on the show. I think more Filipinos can draw inspiration from Bretman because of how unapologetically confident he is,” said Pia.
“There are a few more personalities that we’re trying to get on the show. We will not be focusing only on popular people but also on experts. They also deserve a spot on the platform to be able to share their knowledge and wisdom on important issues.”
For Pia, the hardest part about being a beauty queen is that “you always have to be a queen even when, sometimes, you just want to be a king. It’s like a blessing and a curse at the same time.”
Bianca agreed: “What Pia tried to point out were the unjust and stereotypical expectations of being a ‘beauty queen.’ We hope to disprove the idea that because we’re beauty queens we can’t be as opinionated as we want to. When we were still competing in 2014, we were told that it’s more important for us to be more diplomatic and neutral, that we shouldn’t ruffle any feathers. Thankfully, that has changed.”
Competing in pageants for six years, Carla said, felt like “it put me in a box. I had to act in a certain way for so long that I lost myself. I had to rediscover my voice and what I really want to do with my life. That was the effect on me personally. Now, I feel like I’m in a much better place.” INQ
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