Everything You Need To Know About Pia Wurtzbach's Madame Tussauds Hong Kong Wax Figure
"Speechless" is the best word Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach could think of to describe how she felt the moment she came face to face with her own Madame Tussauds Hong Kong wax figure. "I just kept staring at it, looking at all angles," Pia tells Metro.Style.
Last September, it was announced that this beauty queen, actress, and TV host made history again as she was chosen to be the first-ever Filipino wax figure at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. Six months later, Pia's wax figure was ready to be unveiled.
Last March 29, Filipinos got the chance to see and take selfies with Pia and her wax figure at the #PiaMadeIconic Travel Fest held at the SM Mega Fashion Hall. The travel festival saw three major travel brands—Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, and Klook—partnering to give frequent and first-time flyers to Hong Kong enticing travel packages and promos.
(From left) Cathay Pacific Philippines Country Manager Rob Bradshaw, Klook Philippines' Market Lead Michelle Cruz, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong General Manager Jenny You, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, and her wax figure
Pia at the #PiaMadeIconic Travel Fest
Here, we listed down everything you need to know about Pia's Madame Tussauds Hong Kong wax figure:
1. On why Madame Tussauds Hong Kong finally decided to include a Filipino wax figure
In Madame Tussauds Hong Kong's 19-year history, it's only now that they are finally adding a Filipino wax figure in their roster of legendary personalities. Aside from Hollywood celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, this world-famous wax museum also features notable Asian personalities like Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh, Hong Kong-American martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, Hong Kong-born martial artist and actor Jackie Chan, and South Korean singer-songwriter Siwon Choi (who is part of the boy band Super Junior that happens to be Pia's favorite K-Pop group). With Hong Kong only a few hours away from Manila and Filipinos gaining worldwide fame more and more, it totally makes sense to have a wax figure represent the Philippines in this tourist attraction.
"We're neighbors," says Madame Tussauds Hong Kong General Manager Jenny You. "First of all, Philippines is a very important market to Hong Kong. We welcome over 10,000 Filipinos every year to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. A couple of years ago, we heard some Filipinos asking why there's no Filipino wax figure in Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. We think that’s a really valid point, and we started thinking about it and have been working on this."
Pia and her wax figure with Madame Tussauds Hong Kong General Manager Jenny You
2. On why Pia Wurtzbach was chosen for this breakthrough project
Pia's Miss Universe 2015 victory was extremely unforgettable for two main reasons: 1) pageant host Steve Harvey made a mistake in announcing the winner, naming Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe when it should have been Pia, and 2) Pia won back the Miss Universe crown for the Philippines after a 42-year drought. With such an achievement, intensified by that (in)famous faux pas, Pia will forever be remembered not just by pageant fans but by people across different parts of the world as well.
Jenny shares, "Having a first Filipino wax figure is something Madame Tussauds Hong Kong has wanted for a long time. It’s also very important that we have to select someone whose character and impact are truly iconic. And also, this person should represent Philippines so we looked at all the fields from sports to politics to beauty, personality. I think as a beauty queen, model, actress, TV personality and UNAIDS ambassador, Pia is truly a global icon loved all over the world."
When Pia was asked if she would agree to having her own Madame Tussauds Hong Kong wax figure, she shares, "I said yes right away without batting an eyelash. I didn’t even think about it. I was so excited because I’m a fan. I go to Madame Tussauds. I know how fun it is." Pia had been to Madame Tussauds Las Vegas about 10 years ago, and her favorite wax figure has got to be that of Jennifer Lopez's.
Pia is also the host of Metro Channel's "Pia's Postcards." She is currently in South Korea taping an episode for the travel show's Season 2.
I know it took me a long time to post this. I needed some time to get settled in; everything was happening so fast. Now everything is sinking in and I'm almost done replying and thanking everyone as much as I can. Okay. Here goes. First of all.. Thank you, Lord! The countless times I begged you in tears to please grant me my one big wish! I prayed in every church I went into, in whichever part of the world I was. Wished on every wishing well I passed by and on every falling star I caught in the sky. When everything seems unreachable or impossible, you find a way. I trained & despite all the challenges, everything fell into place and I finally got the crown the whole country has been waiting for for 42 years. It's true. Focus on the ordinary and God will take care of the extraordinary. Second, thank you to the amazing team behind me. Aces and Queens. I am grateful for all the training I did with you. You were my family away from family. I found my confidence when you found my potential. To my family in London, Mama, Papa, Sarah, Charlie & baby Lara. Thank you for being so supportive in all my decisions. You guys are really the ones I turn to when things get rough. And I'm so grateful that even when you're far away, I never feel alone. And last but definitely not the least, to YOU. Thank you for cheering and rooting for me. Whether you were a die hard supporter at the Axis Theater in Las Vegas or just a silent supporter watching me from TV, thank you. Especially to those who voted for me during the Global Fan Vote. You were all instrumental to my victory. Mga kababayan, when I was walking on stage in that blue gown, wearing the Philippine sash in front of billions of viewers on TV & online, I've never been more proud to be a Filipina. I'll never forget it. It was a proud yet humbling experience. And now as I continue on with my journey as #MissUniverse I hope I inspired you all. Not just my fellow countrymen but all of you. Keep your faith, fight for what you believe in and hold on to your dreams! They do come true! I know I still have much to learn and a huge responsibility ahead of me..So thank you 2015 and bring it on, 2016! ????????HAPPY NEW YEAR! -Pia
3. On Pia's experience getting her measurements taken for her wax figure
Pia went to London to have her measurements taken by the Madame Tussauds London team. All wax figures are, in fact, made in London and shipped to different sites.
Pia shares, "It took a few hours to get the measurements really right but 'di ako napagod. I really prepared for that as well. They measured everything manually. I stayed in the pose for a few hours but it’s fine, no problem. I think it was about four hours... And I remember, when they asked me to do the smile, I was thinking, 'Okay, this has to be my best smile kasi 'di na mababago ito, 'yung smile ko, 'yun na 'yun.'"
I have a big announcement! Starting early next year, I’ll be residing in Hong Kong! Well, my wax figure will! ?? So excited to be the first Filipino who’ll be part of Madame Tussauds! What a birthday treat! Please visit me there. Will be waiting for you! ?? @madametussaudshongkong
4. On why this outfit and hair & makeup looks were chosen
While her blue mermaid-cut Albert Andrada gown during the Miss Universe 2015 coronation night was truly iconic, the Madame Tussauds Hong Kong team instead opted to recreate Pia's look at the Miss Universe 2016 coronation night, where she passed on the crown to Miss France's Iris Mittenaere. This is for the reason that they wanted a wax figure that was interactive, and Pia sharing a crowning moment with someone makes for a cool pose the museum visitors will surely love to take photos with.
"Madame Tussauds selected this pose and gown because they're very interactive. People can be crowned as a Miss Universe, take lots of pictures. You can touch, interact. Actually, the gown itself is heavier than the wax figure so that’s a nice trivia," Pia explains, adding that she's truly impressed with Madame Tussauds' attention to detail. "They got everything right, like the color of the hair, the color of my eyes. They even got my dental impression from my dentist... So if you see it [up close], makikita mo may veins pa siya sa kamay. Ang galing talaga. Super. They really tried their best to replicate my look at the Miss Universe 2016 coronation night. Event at that time, I did have red nail polish."
Pia's wax figure is wearing an exact version of her blue strapless ball gown by Michael Cinco. "Hindi s'ya watered down version, like it’s the exact same one, with Swarovski crystals," Pia points out.
Over 20 artists worked on Pia's wax figure, to make sure it looks as realistic as possible.
Pia takes a selfie with her Madame Tussauds Hong Kong wax figure
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong Studio Manager Elle Rex adding final touches on Pia’s wax figure
5. On where you'll find Pia's wax figure at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is divided into several areas: Fashion Zone, Historical and National Heroes, Hong Kong Glamour, World Premiere, Kung Fu Zone, K-Wave Zone, The Champions, Music Icons, and Animated World. Pia's wax figure will be placed in the Fashion Zone, next to the wax figure of top model Kendall Jenner.
Kendall Jenner and her Madame Tussauds Hong Kong wax figure | Photo from Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
6. On the "homecoming" of Pia's wax figure
Making this milestone even more special is the fact that this is actually the first time a wax figure was flown to its home country before being brought to its permanent location. Starting this April, tourists can already spot Pia's wax figure standing beautifully alongside other global celebrities and personalities.
Pia Wurtzbach's parents take a photo with their daughter's wax figure
Pia's niece Lara in her own crowning moment
See more photos of Pia with her wax figure in the gallery below:
Photos by Grace Libero-Cruz
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong is located at Shop P101, 128 Peak Rd, The Peak, Hong Kong
Photographs courtesy of Storyscope Strategic Communications Group | Photo by Grace Libero-Cruz (banner and thumbnail)