Pia talks politics, showbiz and romance with Fil-Am media
With members of FilAm media. With her at table is Paula Shugart, president of Miss Universe Organization and Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. Photo by Boyet Loverita/The FilAm
The night was cold and blustery. Inside the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue, the mood was warm and convivial. There was a quiet sense of excitement as people arrived and assembled at the lobby waiting for Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach to emerge.
The event was Pia’s meet-and-greet with the Filipino-American community since winning Miss Universe in Las Vegas, a triumph shrouded in controversy, and also mystery. Due to the circumstance that had host Steve Harvey calling out the wrong name of the winner, the pageant has stirred the curiosity, ire and condemnation of the international community, depending on who you talk to. This was an unprecedented human error. It has no historical basis and no precedent on how to handle the aftermath.
Filipinos around the world reacted like many others and have since recovered from the shock. They are now moving forward with the celebration and getting to know Pia, the 64th Miss Universe, and the third Filipina to win the crown, after Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margie Moran in 1973. Many of them believe that this episode, a reminder of the frailty of the human psyche, will at best be a lesson on humility and grace.
The Philippine Consulate hosted a gathering on January 13 where the community got to meet Pia, and vice versa. Invited were various leaders of community organizations, members of the Fil-Am media, and select guests. It was a well-orchestrated event designed to maximize the limited time. There was a little bit of waiting as Pia moved from boardroom to ballroom to meet with Filipinos, shake their hands and oblige with photo-ops.
Accompanied by Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. and Paula Shugart, president of Miss Universe Organization, Pia faced Fil-Am reporters and answered pre-screened questions. She came across as sincere, down-to-earth, and full of hope for the future.
Here are excerpts from the Q-A:
On romance and the right guy: I’m not thinking about that right now. There’s no lucky guy. Bigger things are in store for me. And I have no complaints with that.
The problem with me is when I fall in love. I tend to give my 100 percent to it. That can’t happen right now. Everything will have to wait. I’m so sorry, guys. (Holds crown) This is my boyfriend right now.
On acting and showbiz career: I can see myself going back to acting. I hope to still be doing that after five or 10 years.
On possibly entering politics: Why not. I’m not closing my doors. I think I have much to learn, get the right qualification. I don’t want to let people down. I need to do major homework first.
On how to choose the right political candidate: Kilalanin niyo maige yung iboboto niyo. Look at their qualifications; they have to be compassionate, selfless, approachable, firm. These are the qualities I would look for.
On her own special qualities: I’m very persistent as you have known already. When I have a goal, that goal is fixed. I don’t negotiate with my goals. But my methods of getting to my goals are flexible. So if you believe in something be sure, don’t keep changing your mind. Be patient, work hard and don’t give up.
On how she can make a difference in the world: Just to be myself, be a natural, relatable, and approachable person. I don’t want people to feel that just because you are high up there already others cannot aspire to be like you. I want people to feel they can be my friend.
On how she keeps herself grounded: People keep asking how I am, so I switch it around. I ask people how they’re doing. How’s your family, how’s your sister. Little things like that. Not everything is about me.
On how she savors her Miss Universe moment: I savor it like a piece of chocolate after a good workout…I actually keep a diary. I can go back to it and see, ‘so this was what happened at that time.’ I hope nobody reads it. – with Cristina DC Pastor/The FilAm