|Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach poses under the crown held by her Madame Tussauds wax replica, which was unveiled to the media during an event at the EDSA Shangri-La yesterday. / Jesse Bustos|
MANILA, Philippines — Former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach felt like a winner again as she unveiled in Manila yesterday her wax figure for Madame Tussauds Hong Kong.
Wurtzbach is the first and only Filipino celebrity to have a figure at the popular wax museum chain’s flagship attraction in Asia.
“It’s so surreal. I cannot explain how happy I am now. I feel like I won again,” the 29-year-old beauty queen and actress told The STAR.
Wurtzbach said she used to go to Madame Tussauds and even had a throwback photo from 10 years ago when she went to the wax museum in Las Vegas, USA.
“So I know how fun it is there, how fun it is to take photos with the celebrities in wax figures. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’m gonna be immortalized,” Wurtzbach said.
“I’m going to look young forever,” she quipped.
When asked how she was selected, Wurtzbach said she was informed that a survey was undertaken on Filipino celebrities.
“That’s what they told me. They did like a survey, a study, and that’s how they decided to select me.”
According to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong general manager Jenny You, they decided to have a Filipino wax figure due to the request of their Filipino visitors. “Our Filipino guests have always been important to us and we’ve always believed we should have a Filipino wax figure, so we’re very pleased to have Pia mark this milestone with us. We can’t imagine having anyone but her to represent the Philippines in this way.”
She added, “More than being a queen, (Wurtzbach) has all the makings of an icon and we’re proud to be able to house her wax figure at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong for the rest of the world to be able to interact with.”
At the big reveal held at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, it was like seeing double for the media as Wurtzbach came face to face for the first time with her wax version. It wore the same stunning Swarovski-embellished royal blue ball gown by Michael Cinco, which she donned when she passed the Miss Universe crown in 2016.
People will enjoy their own crowning moment with Wurtzbach’s wax version. “I really love it. I really love the pose. It’s very interactive. People are going to be able to touch it.”
To come up with such a flawless resemblance, the process of getting her measurements took four to five hours. The making of the figure took six months, with 20 artists working on it in London where Madame Tussauds originated.
“I had to do the pose for quite sometime because they had to measure everything, like the distance from my wrist to my elbow, everything. They had to measure manually,” she said.
They also took a lot of pictures of her face, from different angles, but Wurtzbach said, “I never got tired because I was too excited, my adrenalin was up.”
She continued, “They really paid attention to detail. They checked the color of my hair because iba pala ang color natin dito sa harap, sa likod, sa ilalim, the hair has highlights and lowlights and then I had to step outside into the natural light so they could get the exact color of my eyes. And fun fact, the teeth (are) exactly the same because they got my dental impression from my dentist.”
The Miss Universe crown used in the wax figure is the Mikimoto crown as approved by the Miss Universe Organization.
Her wax version is home for the #PiaMadeIconic Travel Festival today at SM Mega Fashion Hall. The festival is a joint effort of Madame Tussauds Hong Kong with two other major travel brands, international airline Cathay Pacific and booking platform Klook.
Special packages are being offered at the event for first time and frequent travelers to Hong Kong.
After the travel fest, Wurtzbach’s wax figure will be flown to its permanent home at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, where it will join life-size replicas of some of the world’s most famous celebrities and historic icons in themed galleries.
Source: The Philippine Star, 3/29/2019
Sarah Rose Summers, Miss USA 2018, will crown her successor on May 2, 2019
in Reno, Nevada. Credit: Miss Universe Organization
It’s official. This year’s Miss USA pageant is coming to Reno after the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority voted to approve $350,000 in special funding for the event on Thursday morning.
It is the first time that the event will be held in Reno. The Miss Universe Organization, which also oversees the Miss USA pageant, will now be moving forward quickly to prepare for the event.
The pageant is scheduled to be broadcast on Fox at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on May 2 and will be held at the Grand Sierra Resort's Grand Theatre. "We have everyone on standby after this meeting today — all our state directors, family, friends — everyone is waiting for us to pull the trigger ... and make arrangements for coming here (to Reno)," said Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, at the RSCVA public meeting.
Funding will come out of the RSCVA’s budget, which is generated via room taxes from area hotels. Options for the RSCVA include its contingency fund, which still has $400,000 left for the fiscal year. The organization can also draw money from its marketing budget or its air service fund.
The board’s 7-2 vote was preceded by a robust debate among its members.
RSCVA Board Chairman Bob Lucey, who voted against the special funding, said he had “major concerns” about the amount involved, which he described as the highest figure that the organization has ever approved for a special event.
Lucey also questioned the timing of the event, which is scheduled to be held in just a little over a month.
“We’ve never addressed an ask of this size or magnitude nor have we ever put together a production of this size (with this little time left),” Lucey said. “Is this standard for you guys? Because for us, this is a little more unorthodox.”
Shugart admitted that it seems that the organization is cutting it close. If Reno were to reject the funding request, they would be forced to ask Fox to move the date of the event and negotiate with one of the previous pageant locations to hold the event this year.
At the same time, Shugart stressed that the organization knows what it needs to do to hold the event and can get things done quite quickly once a decision is made.
“This isn’t the norm but this does happen,” Shugart said. “I wouldn’t be here if we weren’t 100 percent convinced that we could do it."
Other board members also voiced concerns about whether hosting a pageant would actually hurt Reno’s image instead of enhance it. Reno has worked hard and spent a lot of money to improve its image and some in the board worried that the pageant could harm those efforts, particularly among people who consider such events as outdated or exploitative of women.
The concerns were backed by The Decker/Royal Agency and BVK, which do marketing work for the RSCVA. BVK, in particular, indicated that hosting the event was “not prudent at this time,” especially due to the negative press it might attract.
Hillary Schieve, RSCVA board member and Reno mayor, pushed back against the criticism of pageants, citing the positive experience that a couple of her female staffers experienced while taking part in them. Schieve also pointed out that Reno itself was in a similar situation in the past with regards to its image.
“Reno hasn’t always had the best brand either … and that’s a struggle that Reno knows a lot about,” Schieve said. “(Pageants) aren’t just about being a pretty face anymore — they have changed so much when it comes to education and confidence and being ambassadors not just around the country but all over the world.”
A majority of board members ultimately voted to approve the funding, citing the Miss USA pageant’s well-known brand, the resulting TV exposure and the event’s international reach.
The RSCVA held the special funding vote in response to a request by Miss USA parent company Endeavor — formerly known as William Morris Endeavor IMG — for incentives in order to make it feasible for the organization to hold the pageant in Reno. The request, which was first made at the RSCVA’s February public meeting, included assistance in the form of either tax breaks, a financial stipend, free hotel rooms for contestants, or a combination of the three. Last year, the organization received a $1 million tax break as well as a cash stipend between $300,000 to $400,000 when it held the Miss USA 2018 pageant in Shreveport, Louisiana, said Jonathan Seiden, legal counsel for Endeavor.
At the time, Seiden assured the RSCVA board that the return on investment for Reno-Tahoe would exceed the cost of the incentives.
Endeavor estimates that 4,000 to 5,000 visitors typically attend the Miss USA pageant, staying at the host cities for an average of five to six days. The Miss USA staff and crew alone spend more than $300,000 total and stay on site anywhere from two to three weeks. The Las Vegas pageant in 2017 generated more than 100 jobs over a three-week period, according to Endeavor. The 2015 show in Baton Rouge saw 5,150 room nights booked and generated more than $2.6 million in revenue for area hotels, the company claimed.
“This is not a handout,” Seiden said. “You’ll get a nice feature on prime time TV about the city and about the contestants leading to the event. (Viewers) will see downtown, your mountains, your beautiful murals … and contestants talking about all the wonderful things you can do in the Reno-Tahoe area.”
While the pageant still garners an audience nationally, ratings have consistently declined over the years as viewing habits change and more people see the concept of pageants as being outdated. Back in 1979, for example, Miss USA viewership was at 38.1 million, according to ratings company Nielsen. In contrast, viewership numbers in the last five years have been lower.
2014: 5.6 million
2016: 4 million
2017: 2.9 million
2018: 2.35 million
The 2015 pageant saw an especially sharp decline — a record low for the event — after NBC and Univision dropped the pageant in response to then-owner Donald Trump’s comments criticizing Mexican immigrants. The 2015 pageant was broadcast by cable channel Reelz.
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Seiden downplayed the declining Nielsen numbers.
“Our fanbase shows up not just on TV but also on social media in many different ways,” Seiden said. “The audience is still there and could be bigger but they’re just in different places.”
Seiden also touted the event as a strong performer on the international scene. The event generates more than 100 million impressions globally and digital exposure worth $1.5 million, according to Endeavor.
“(Miss USA is) distributed to over 70 countries in the world,” Seiden said. “When we highlight Reno-Tahoe, it won’t be just for the United States but for an international audience who maybe doesn’t know much about the area and may want to come visit.”
Source: Reno Gazette Journal, 3/28/2019
Miss Universe Catriona Gray helped raised some US$6,000 (roughly P300,000) for abused Filipino children during a short-noticed fund-raising event in Canada recently.
Gray thanked all those who supported the charity event for Bantay Bata 163, an organization that provides a multitude of social services for the children of the Philippines, such as a help hotline, medical assistance, feeding programs, and educational scholarships.
“Maraming salamat po to everyone who supported the Bantay Bata organisation this past weekend in Toronto, Canada!” Gray said on Instagram.
She added: “Big thank you to the members of @pidc.toronto who pulled together this event on such short notice! The total amount of $6000 raised from this intimate dinner will go towards serving and protecting our countries children.”
On its website, Bantay Bata 163 is said to be Asia’s model for child care services. Its toll-free hotline 1-6-3 remains as the country’s online helpline devoted to receiving and responding to child abuse reports.
Now on its 22nd year, Bantay Bata 163 has responded to almost 400, 000 reports since 1997- 2015.
It has likewise extended medical assistance to more than 56, 000 patients in partner hospitals. Bantay Edukasyon scholars, who are now in college or have graduated, pay the kindness forward by actively participating in Bantay Bata 163’s activities and mission.
“We are overwhelmed with love from all those who have supported us since our founding on Valentine’s Day in 1997,” said Jing Castaneda-Velasco, Bantay Bata 163 Program Director.
She said: “It is this same love that we hope to impart to more children as we strive to improve our services to adapt to an ever-changing landscape of abuse and exploitation.”
Source: Manila Bulletin, 3/27/2019
GIVE THREE ADJECTIVES THAT YOUR FRIENDS WOULD DESCRIBE YOU.
I would like to believe that my friends would describe me as confident, driven, and considerate. That’s how I perceive myself and I try to come off that way.
IF THERE WERE NO RULES IN YOUR LIFE FOR ONE DAY AND YOU COULD BE OUTRAGEOUS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I would buy every article of clothing that I have saved on my Pinterest and Instagram. I try to keep money spent on clothes to a minimum and build the money I put into my saving account. I cave in at times and then later feel guilty! A guilt free shopping spree sounds amazing.
IF YOU COULD BE GREAT AT ONE THING, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would love to be able to pick up languages easily and become bilingual. When traveling over seas, so much gets lost in translation. It becomes difficult to learn about their culture and day to day lives. Being able to speak their native tongue, you’re able to make such a strong connection and really indulge in their stories.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY IN LIFE?
Everything happens for a reason. I live by this day to day. Whenever something happens that doesn’t go the way I planned, I allow myself to feel the emotions for a day or two, then gather myself and get back into life and handle what needs to get taken care of.
WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON COSMETIC SURGERY? DO YOU THINK PAGEANT GIRLS WHO HAVE HAD COSMETIC ENHANCEMENT HAVE MORE ADVANTAGE OVER THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HAD ANY?
I see cosmetic surgery in the same light as tattoos. It’s a personal choice if someone wants to modify their body to make them feel more confident. I don’t believe that girls who have had surgery have an advantage over girls who haven’t. Although physical appearance is a factor, confidence is ultimately what sells the judges and makes you stand out among the other contestants.
SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE ALL CITIZENS HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE?
I believe that the government should make sure that all citizens have access to basic healthcare. But as an adult, you do need to make decisions and take control of your life and no longer rely on others and that includes setting up an adequate health care plan.
WHERE DO YOU SEE AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT IN OUR COUNTRY AS A WHOLE?
I believe as a country we need to unite more and stop dividing into different categories. Whether it be politics, a sports team or what we should do with our southern border, we have to remember that we all live in the same country and we all have the same men and women fighting for our freedom overseas. We are all Americans and we should come together as one.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO FOR FUN?
I love all sporting events! Growing up I was constantly involved in multiple different athletic activities. Red Sox games, Patriots games, minor league baseball and hockey games, you ask me to go and I would absolutely love to!
IF YOU WON MISS USA AND ONE OF THE CANDIDATES TOLD YOU THAT YOU DIDN'T DESERVE THE CROWN, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HER?
When something doesn’t go our way, especially after a lot of work has been put in, emotions can really take over. I would say that I didn’t take her comment to heart and that I understand her situation because I’ve been there before. We’ve all been in that situation and it’s not easy to adjust to.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF ABOUT THE U.S.A.?
I’m proud of the resilience of the American people. The men and women that fought overseas, athletes, our teachers, everybody who protest for justice within the United States; they’re all resilient and they don’t stop until they’ve achieved what their end goal was.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF BEAUTY?
I don’t see beauty as a physical feature. I see it confidence and how you carry yourself when you walk into a room full of strangers. Beauty is going out of your way to check on others, offer help when it’s needed, and smile while doing it all.
WHAT WOULD YOU NEVER POST ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA AND WHY?
You should never post something on social media that is negative towards another person. With so much cyber bullying and “trolls” online, the last thing we need is another person degrading someone else. In the end, it hurts your image and your reputation as an individual.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FLAW?
When I have a plan, I’m 100% invested in that plan, and when something happens that affects the end results, I don’t know how to adjust. I see this as my biggest flaw because it’s something that’s taken me years to manage. I’m now comfortable with creating multiple plans once plan A is no longer an option. My end result is still the same goal, but how I get to it is now different.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF TRANSGENDER WOMEN (MALE-TO-FEMALE) ATHLETES COMPETING WITH NATURAL-BORN WOMEN?
I believe transgender athletes should have their own league in whatever sport they’re participating in. Regardless of supplements and surgeries, there is a part of your DNA creation that still clarifies you as a male or as a female. You having that upper hand is a disadvantage to other athletes that you’re competing against. Just as natural born male/female athletes are prohibited from certain supplements, transgender athletes shouldn’t be allowed to take hormone boosters while competing.
DO YOU THINK THAT SOCIAL MEDIA GIANTS LIKE FACEBOOK AND TWITTER HAVE THE RIGHT TO BAN OR CENSOR USERS WHO ALLEGEDLY PROMOTE "HATE SPEECH?"
When creating a Facebook or Twitter account, you agreed to certain conditions that are set by the company. In those conditions, it blatantly states that hate speech will not be tolerated on their site. The social media giants absolutely have the right to ban and censor certain speech to keep their sites clean.
DO YOU THINK THAT PAGEANTS SHOULD DO AWAY WITH THE SWIMSUIT COMPETITION? WHY OR WHY NOT?
I competed in my first pageant at the age of 18. As soon as I stepped on stage I felt so beautiful and so confident in that bathing suit that I totally forgot there was anybody sitting out in the crowd. I spent weeks perfecting my diet, going to the gym and living a healthy lifestyle that lead up to that moment. I feel as though taking away the swimsuit competition, the drive to live that healthy lifestyle is lessened.
IF YOU HAD $1 MILLION TO BEGIN YOUR OWN CHARITY IN ANY LOCATION ACROSS THE GLOBE, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would create a charity that helped endangered teenagers in difficult abusive relationships. In high school, I was one of those teenagers. I was trapped in a two year relationship and felt like there was no way out and that no one that could help me. It took me a few years to muster up the courage and to leave that relationship but it still left a strain on me as an individual. I had anxiety attacks years after the relationship ended and was worried about going home and running into him while I was out. Violence within teenage dating happens so much more often than what we want to acknowledge and what we talk about. With my charity I would love to help these young teenagers understand their worth and know that they can escape this situation. There is so much more to life than what it currently feels like.
WHICH QUALITY OF WOMEN GIVES THEM AN EDGE OVER MEN?
Men have certain qualities that women don’t, and vice versa. When comparing men and women to each other, neither really has the upper hand. We equal out each other and are able to give what the other gender cannot. In certain situations men have the upper hand and in others, women do. There’s no simple answer to this question.
WHAT WOULD A POTENTIAL EMPLOYER LEARN ABOUT YOU FROM REVIEWING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA?
Although my social media portrays it as though I travel a lot and that my title takes up a lot of my free time, it’s really not the case. I work every weekend with the occasional day off here or there for important events. I’m a dedicated employee, I spend my weekends busting my butt. If you need me to come in early, I am there.
WHY SHOULD YOU BE THE NEXT MISS USA?
I believe I should be the next Miss USA because I am authentic and so genuine about my life. Regardless if it’s social media, an interview or just talking to somebody that I met at work, I’m very open about my struggles. I talk about my hardship when I went to school, I talk about how daring it was to move across the country twice without visiting either state, and I talk about all my off days that I sit around and don’t do anything because I’m so tired. I don’t portray my life as glamorous and try to limit posting anything that would give hints otherwise. I’m very genuine and very open about my life and I find that extremely important. It’s important to be relatable to everybody that’s going to be looking up to you during your year of reign.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MISS NEW HAMPSHIRE USA & ALEXIS CHINN
Thank you, Alexis, for granting us this interview
Follow Alexis on her social media:
Miss NH USA: https://instagram.com/missnhusa
Lexi Chinn: https://instagram.com/lexi_chinn
Júlia Horta, a 24-year-old journalist from Juíz de Fora, Minas Gerais, was crowned Miss Brazil 2019 on March 9, 2019. She will now represent Brazil in 2019 Miss Universe pageant whose date and venue have yet to be announced. Her court includes first runner-up Luana Carvalho Lobo of Ceará and the second runner-up Bianca Dias of São Paulo. Rio Grande do Sul and Rio Grande do Norte were the other two finalists.
Photo credits: Miss Brasil Be Emotion
The Puteri Indonesia 2019 pageant was held in Jakarta on March 8, 2019 and crowned three new Indonesia queens. In the photo above, from left to right: Jolene Marie Cholock Rotinsuku from Sulawesi Utara is Puteri Indonesia Lingkungan 2019 (Miss International Indonesia 2019) who will represent her country in Miss International 2019 pageant in Japan later this year; Frederika Alexis Cull from DKI Jakarta 1 is Puteri Indonesia 2019 (Miss Universe Indonesia 2019) and will compete in Miss Universe 2019 whose date and venue have yet to be confirmed; and Jesica Fitriana Martasari of Jawa Barat (Miss Supranational Indonesia 2019) who will compete in Miss Supranational 2019 in Poland in December.
The pageant was graced by the reigning major queens Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, Miss International 2018 Mariam Velasco, and Miss Supranational 2018 Valeria Vasquez. All three women were dressed in kebaya, the traditional Indonesian dress for women made of exquisite textiles.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray looking regal in kebaya
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