Nitong nakaraang Binibining Pilipinas 2014 ay isa si Pia Wurtzbach sa matunog na makakasungkit sana ng titulo.
Pero hindi siya pinalad manalo ng korona, at naging isa lamang siya sa Top 15 finalists.
Kahit hindi siya nanalo, nakakuha pa rin siya ng special awards mula sa Philippine Airlines at JAG Jeans.
Ganoon pa man, malaki pa rin ang pasasalamat ni Pia sa mga sumuporta sa kanya sa kanyang laban.
Pahayag niya, “I appreciate that there’s a lot of supporters even though I’ve only with the pageant two years.
"I feel like, I really feel the love, you know, from social media, ganyan.
“Some people, they really take the time to comment and message me. Some even send me their art work and little things like that.
“I appreciate it, that there’s a lot of support and it is how it is, really.
"I’m not blaming anybody for it. I don’t blame the pageant for it. I don’t blame the judges for it, not even Senator [Sonny] Angara for it. I don’t blame anybody.”
NOT BLAMING ANYONE. Matatandaang sa kalagitnaan ng Question and Answer portion sa nakaraang Binibining Pilipinas finals, kahit fluent sa English si Pia ay tiyempong natapat siya kay Senator Sonny Angara, isa sa mga hurado noong gabing iyon, na nagtanong sa kanya ng Tagalog.
“And some of the fans kasi, they’re upset, they say it was his fault.
“Of course not. It’s just the way it is, and…”
Na-shock ba siya na tinanong siya nang Tagalog ni Senator Angara kahit ang ibang kandidata ay sa wikang Ingles ang tanong at sagot?
“I was surprised, yes!” pag-amin ni Pia.
Nadismaya ba siya na sasagot pa sana siya sa English pagkatapos niyang sumagot sa Tagalog kaya lamang ay kinulang na siya sa oras?
“Oh no, not really, kasi I knew naman that during deliberation.
"I know that they would translate the answer to the other judges who didn’t undesrtand during the deliberation.
“That’s how it is naman. I mean, for sure, if any candidate just said like a piece of, a few words lang in English, alam nila na that’s not the complete answer, so I’m sure that my answer was explained to them and…
“Actually, medyo natuwa nga ako na Tagalog, e.
"Kasi naisip ko na naiiba ako, na parang, 'A, maaalala ako nito dahil Tagalog!'” at tumawa si Pia.
“I was surprised pero natuwa din ako in a way na, ‘Okay, sige, Tagalog tayo!’
“Parang it is Binibining Pilipinas after all. I don’t see why we have to stick to English all the time.
"Maybe it’s about time we spoke in Tagalog in Miss Universe with a translator.
“'Di ba? Maybe it’ll open an idea so to me it’s...
"I don’t blame anybody for what the results were and I’m happy naman now.”
SECOND TRY. Pangalawang pagsali na ni Pia sa Binibining Pilipinas; last year ay nanalo siyang first runner-up siya sa naturang beauty pageant.
Sa tanong naman kung sasali siya ulit sa Binibining Pilipinas next year, sabi niya, “Right now it looks like a no.
"It’s very hard to join pageants. Not a lot of people realize how hard it can be.
“And it’s just not the preparation before that, it’s restricting yourself really from doing a lot of work that, and I’m doing projects that could clash with the sponsors of Binibini.
“So if I were to do modelling 'tapos may balak pa akong sumali sa Binibini, I’d have to be careful na hindi ko masasagasaan ang Avon, ang Cream Silk, yung mga sponsors nila.
“So I can’t take Globe kunyari, I can’t do Palmolive, things like these so…
“Also with employment, mahirap mag-apply sa trabaho, 'tapos aalis ka rin kasi, you know, that you’re not gonna ba staying there long.
“Kasi 'pag alam nila na you’re intention is not to stay in the long run, that you’ll leave for the pageant, and possibly if you win, parang they won’t be... I mean, any employer won’t hire you na.”
So, mas gusto niya ang buhay na may isang nine-to-five na trabaho kaysa sa buhay ng isang beauty queen?
Pagsang-ayon niya, “Yeah.”
Kaya ayaw na niyang muling sumali.
“It’s hard, it’s hard to join pageants, it really is,” pahabol pa nito.
Pero may advantage na siya dahil dalawang beses na siyang sumali.
Sabi ni Pia, “Pero mahirap pa rin kasi mahirap kung sasali ako ulit, marami akong hindi puwedeng gawin ngayon, maraming bawal pa rin.”
Sa ganda niyang iyon, mas pipiliin niya ang isang normal na buhay?
“Hindi naman normal, I’m doing modelling now with Mama J [Jonas Gaffud], so that’s what’s keeping me busy right now.
"And so far, I’ve been doing pretty well at it, I think, so we’ll just see how it goes,” saad pa niya.
Hindi naman niya isinasara ang pinto ng pagkakataon na muli siyang sumali sa Bb. Pilipinas?
“It looks like a no, really.”
Sayang naman, marami pa naman ang naniniwala na may tsansa siya, na kung hindi siya pinalad sa nakaraang pageant ay baka manalo na siya next year.
“Oo, tapos next year ganun na naman, ako yung nahihirapan,” at tumawa si Pia.
LOVELIFE. Loveless daw si Pia.
Aniya, “Even when I joined in 2013 na pageant, wala akong boyfriend nun hanggang ngayon.”
Wala rin daw siyang manliligaw na artista.
“Ay, wala, lalo na!” bulalas pa niya.
Iwas daw siya sa pulitiko dahil kung hindi may-asawa na ay tiyak na may girlfriend na raw ang mga binatang pulitiko.
Ano ng gusto ni Pia sa isang lalaki?
“I like somebody who’s smart, who’s intellectual with a good sense of humor, and somebody who’s more mature, who’s a man, really.
“Kasi I feel like I have a very strong personality and I live alone here, so I’m quite independent.
"So, I want somebody who, yung, I don’t wanna have to take care of a boy.
“You know what I mean?” at muling natawa si Pia.
Ayon pa kay Pia, “Hindi papayag si Mama J diyan sa mga lovelife.
"Kahit magtanong ako diyan, ‘Mag-career ka muna!’
“Ganyan ang sinasabi niya sa akin.”
Ayaw na rin muna ni Pia na balikan ang showbiz; dati siyang artista sa Kapamilya network gamit ang pangalang Pia Romero.
Balik-tanaw niya, “I was with ABS since I was eleven years old. I did It Might Be You, Sa Piling Mo, Bora, Aryana.”
ADVOCACY. Tinanong namin si Pia kung ano ang maitutulong o partisipasyon niya sa Project Beautiful You, ang bagong advocacy ni Jonas Gaffud na pinuno ng Mercator Artist & Model Management na siyang nagpapatakbo ng career ni Pia.
Ang nasabing advocacy ay para raw sa ikabubuti ng mga beauty queen aspirants.
Sabi ni Pia, “Since I’ve worked with Aces & Queens, with the beauty camp, for two years and with Binibini also, I think that I can guide some of the girls.
“Maybe talk to them, tell them about my experiences and what it’s like to be in Binibining Pilipinas and really just give tips on how to just carry yourself well and how to understand yourself...
“Know your strengths and your weaknesses and know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at.
“To be, really to have self-awareness really and then to work on your strengths so that you get that self-confidence regardless of what you look, like from the outside.
"Because the whole concept of this is to empower women from the inside not really from what you look like.”
Kaya hindi raw lamang para sa mga magagandang babae o mga beauty queen wannabes ang adbokasiyang ito.
Mabilis niyang sagot, “No, of course not.
“It could be schools, like students.”
Kahit nga raw para sa mga ugly ducklings ay puwedeng-puwede ang Project Beautiful You.
“I was an ugly duckling! Yeah. I had an awkward phase where I had to wear braces, you know, these things.
“Where you’re not really confident with yourself and you’re not sure that, ‘Should I talk, should I say what’s on my mind?’
“You’re hesitant and you’re doubting yourself, ganyan and I think a lot of girls have experienced what I have experienced where you’re not sure yet and then you just grow from there.
"So I think this is a good advocacy for girls to just, to me it’s like women empowerment, e.
“So you start believing in yourself really 'coz that’s what Mama J did to me.
"I wasn’t sure about myself when I started with the pageant but he discovered me, he saw something in me that even I didn’t see.
"And then we worked on that and the rest is history!”