It’s been five years since Pia Wurtzbach won the Miss Universe title.
But until now, she is still hounded by rumors claiming she did not want other candidates from the Philippines to win the crown after her victory.
In an interview with Gulf News in Dubai, the beauty queen denied rumors that she didn’t want Catriona Gray the Miss Universe crown when she competed in 2018.
In fact, Pia said she watched Catriona compete in the pageant in Thailand—her first time to attend the Miss Universe coronation night as an audience member.
“I was actually almost in the front row,” she said.
“It’s so nice to see it from the audience’s point of view. Because I’ve been there as a contestant, I’ve been there as a judge, but it’s my first time to be there as an audience member, where I was literally there just to experience it.”
Pia was aware that people thought she was “threatened” by Catriona possibly winning the crown at that time. But she said there’s no reason for her to be the “bitter one.”
“People would say to be me before, ‘Oh, she’s threatened. She doesn’t want another Filipino from the Philippines to win (Miss Universe)',” she shared. "But once you’re there, like, all of that goes out of the window because you just want to raise the flag, you just want the Philippines to win.”
“Everybody is so happy, how can you be the bitter one, right? Why would you want to ruin the party.”
PIa understands where these rumors are coming from, since not everyone understands that competing in a pageant is more than just wearing pretty dresses and looking pretty.
“They don’t really know what really happens before or after (the pageant),” she said.
Pia added, “It’s actually years of training before that girl gets to wear that sash on that stage. And these girls have different stories to tell. These girls come from different walks of life.”
Pia also said she knows it’s important to work hard even after winning the Miss Universe crown.
“The thing I wish somebody told me was that, after you win, you got to work twice as hard to stay relevant. Because the peak is the win, and then the reign. After that, usually, you’ve got to work twice as hard to keep yourself up there, to keep yourself relevant and in the public eye," she said.
Pia was in Dubai to receive her Woman of the Year Award from a Dubai-based luxury magazine.
Banner image and thumbnail screengrab from Pia Wurtbach's Instagram account