Pia Wurtzbach Transformed And Reborn By Way Of Her Advocacies And Causes
A woman who wears many hats, Pia also makes use of her influence to amplify the reach of the advocacies she truly believes in
As a beauty queen, Pia Wurtzbach has established herself as an inspiring, influential woman of substance. Using various platforms, she draws attention to important issues in the society that go well beyond pageantry, informing and educating her millions of followers about the causes she feels strongly about.
Her role as a beauty queen has served as a springboard that helped her take a deep dive into the complexities and intricacies of relevant topics she wants to promote. While championing and creating more awareness for her advocacies, Pia also goes through transformations, learns in the process, and educates herself more, so she could speak up about them more effectively. “I really am a student of life, and I love asking questions,” Pia tells Metro.Style.
The learning never stops for this multifaceted queen. Aside from being an actress, a beauty queen, a TV and podcast host, a brand endorser, an entrepreneur, a foodie, and a traveler, she’s also a WWF-Philippines advocate, a UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific, and is actively involved in humanitarian efforts.
When she conquered the Miss Universe stage in 2015, part of the reason she won the coveted title and crown was her confidently delivered answer in the Q&A portion, where she voiced out the number one cause she wishes to promote if she would win. She answered, “To be a Miss Universe is an honor and a responsibility. If I were to be Miss Universe, I will use my voice to influence the youth and I would raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant to my country, which is the Philippines. I want to show the world—the universe rather—that I am confidently beautiful with a heart.”
From the moment she was declared the winner, Pia has conditioned herself to be a greater role model and an inspiring modern Filipina, who doesn’t only speak from the heart but also makes sure to follow through on the responsibility she wholeheartedly embraced. Being a beauty queen and succeeding in her chosen path was an eye-opening and life-changing experience for Pia; it paved the way for her to be reborn into a confident woman who has the power to make a difference and be a beacon of light for issues that need to be brought to light.
Her drive to become better at whatever it is she does and fuel that passion to be greater than ever is very much aligned with her years-long partnership with Cream Silk. This hair care brand is all about boosting the modern Filipina’s confidence, and conditioning her for greatness. A simple good hair day can do wonders in putting one in the mood to do greater things and encourage her to not settle for good enough. Unilever has created the all new Cream Silk range to get hair conditioned for greater.
The all new Cream Silk Ultimate Reborn Tri-Oleo Conditioner is formulated with Tri-Oleo Complex that deeply nourishes hair’s weakest areas so that women no longer need to settle for just straight, strong and smooth but get hair that’s captivatingly straight, unbelievably strong, and sensationally smooth. The new Cream Silk Ultimate Reborn conditioner is infused with three lightweight ultra-nourishing hair oils: Argan oil to help strengthen hair, Rosehip oil to help smoothen hair, and Marula oil to help moisturize hair. The product deeply nourishes the weakest areas of the hair fiber, restoring hair back to stronger, smoother, making hair beautifully reborn and visibly full of life.
Pia shared that a part of their activities as a Binibining Pilipinas candidate was volunteering for various causes and charitable initiatives. They would help pack relief goods, participate in environment-related events, and join hospital visits. “It’s nice to expose yourself in different organizations so you find the one that really connects to you,” Pia says. After all the philanthropic efforts she participated in as a Binibining Pilipinas candidate, what struck her the most was HIV awareness.
They went to an event where they met people living with HIV. She recounts, “At that time, I didn’t know much about it yet. Not as much as I know now. And I also felt like there was a lot of hesitation coming from the people who were with me at the time, na pumunta dun sa event na ’yun, out of fear.” There were a lot of misconceptions about HIV then, and there remains to be many people who need to be informed and educated about it to this day. They need to be made aware of basic information, like how HIV isn’t transmitted when you hug or shake hands with an infected person. At that moment, Pia thought, “Wait a minute, they’re not gonna invite us if we’re gonna expose ourselves. So I thought it’d be okay. I did my own research then I found out that, wait a minute, as a beauty queen, there are still some things that I don’t know myself. That’s a bad sign, that I still have work to do. So na-curious ako and then I tried to learn more about it.”
That’s the story of how Pia came to be such a staunch advocate of HIV awareness. She acknowledged that there was indeed a lot of work to be done on this aspect, and immediately got down to work—first by equipping herself with the facts to back up her stance and next by spreading the correct information and lending her voice and platform to the cause. “I do know some people who are living with HIV and some of them happen to be very close to me. So this advocacy became personal because it hit home,” she shares.
Since winning Miss Universe, Pia has been supporting the different events of Love Yourself PH, a community of volunteers that provides free HIV testing, counseling, treatment, and life coaching in the Philippines. In 2017, she was also appointed as the UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador for Asia and the Pacific. UNAIDS explained her involvement, saying, “In her new role, Ms. Wurtzbach will raise HIV awareness among young people, as well as promote zero discrimination towards people living with HIV and key populations including men who have sex with men and transgender people.”
Years since she dedicated herself to this meaningful advocacy, Pia remains to be passionate about it. “No way do I think that I am the perfect advocate for it,” she says of her HIV awareness advocacy. “I’m still a student. I’m still learning, but I’m doing it because it just feels right.”
Another advocacy that is close to Pia’s heart is environmental awareness. As someone who loves traveling and is always exposed to the beauty this planet has to offer, she feels the need to conserve the natural resources and promote sustainability, and hope that others will realize the importance of these efforts as well.
She’s long been in search of ways to create more awareness about environmental conservation efforts. Thankfully, WWF-Philippines reached out to her last year. WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization that is present in nearly 100 countries. “We collaborate with people around the world to develop and deliver innovative solutions that protect communities, wildlife, and the places in which they live,” the organization’s website states.
“I’ve always wanted to be a part of their organization, but then the thing with WWF-Philippines is they choose you, you don’t get to choose them... I’m really happy that they considered me to be one of their ambassadors,” Pia shares. “Marami pang Filipinos ang hindi masyadong environmentally conscious.”
“Did you know that Filipinos throw away around 40,000 TONS of waste every single day? That much waste can fill 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools! There are so many things we can do to lessen our waste, and we can start with the food and plastic we throw away,” she writes on Instagram.
She joins WWF-Philippines’ webinars on how we can save our planet and creates other content to support the organization. But she has also taken it upon herself to initiate efforts related to the environment. To help those affected by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses last year, Pia and her friends and fellow beauty queens Carla Lizardo and Bianca Guidotti started the “QueenTulungan Fundraiser,” where they dedicated an episode of their podcast to raise money.
Sharing her WWF advocacy is boyfriend Jeremy Jauncey, who happens to be a WWF-US ambassador. “He started years ago so he’s much more ahead of me,” Pia says. She turns to him to consult on the pressing matters she should focus on and how to bring her visions to life.
When it comes to her advocacies, what constantly pushes Pia to be active on spreading awareness about them is the thought that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Even small efforts count in the grand scheme of things. So, if she could educate one person about HIV a little bit more or inspire an individual to be environmentally conscious, then she has succeeded in her goal to be greater. A woman who has been through several transformations both in her personal and professional lives, she has now become instrumental in the transformation and rebirth of many others.
Lead photos from @piawurtzbach and @loveyourself.ph