Through her long journey toward the most coveted crown in the pageant world, Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach proved that she is perseverance and patience personified. As everyone knows, the Cagayan de Oro native had to endure two defeats in Binibining Pilipinas before finally earning the opportunity to represent the country for the ultimate beauty title.
But now that she is officially one of the most beautiful women in the world, Wurtzbach still practices the virtue of patience, wholeheartedly appreciating the wait when it finally bears fruit.
At the media conference for her new movie “My Perfect You,” the 28-year-old was teary eyed as she recalled how she waited 16 long years to finally land a starring role.
“Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a beauty queen but I also dreamed of becoming an artista. Naturally I wanted to have a lead role in a movie,” Wurtzbach reminisced.
She took the first step toward her goals by joining ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Batch 11 at 13-year-old, uncertain whether she would succeed in either one of her dreams. But while the group afforded her stints in such TV shows like “K2BU,” “Bora,” “Sa Piling Mo,” and films like “All My Life” and “All About Love,” landing a lead role remained elusive for Wurtzbach—until now.
Three Binibining Pilipinas pageants and an awesome Miss Universe triumph in between, the dreamer of a girl has finally become a lead star as well.
Opening today in cinemas nationwide, Pia Wurtzbach shares lead billing with Gerald Anderson in a movie helmed by box-office director Cathy Garcia Molina. Titled, “My Perfect You,” Star Cinema’s latest production follows the story of Burn (Anderson) who, upon losing the love of his life and his cherished career, seeks solace in a remote destination. There, she meets bubbly and ever optimistic camp owner Abi (Wurtzbach) who tries to help him heal and regain his confidence.
“For some reason, I’ve always known I’d win Miss Universe, but for my acting career, I can’t say the same. I mean, I still can’t believe this is all happening! When I saw my movie billboard I was so overwhelmed. Hindi ko inakalang makikita ko yung sarili dun,” the Filipino-German beauty happily admitted.
‘Fat, not so pretty’
Wurtzbach was also honest to admit that she found it very difficult to deliver the kind of acting My Perfect You required of her. Neither her Miss Universe experience nor her launching movie “Gandarrapido: The Revengers Squad” in 2017’s Metro Manila Film Festival prepared her for what was ahead.
To top it all off, she felt and knew her director—who has earned a reputation in the industry for her frank and sometimes brutal remarks—was far from impressed with her when they first met in January.
“When I first saw Pia during our first story conference, sabi ko talaga sa kanya, ‘Ay ang taba mo!’ And then I told others, hindi masyadong maganda si Pia,” Garcia-Molina candidly revealed.
Though taken aback, Wurtzbach quickly and maturely decided to use Molina’s remarks as a motivation to give her best in the movie.
“Those words stayed with me before every scene and I would always pray that I would do well. And of course, I made sure to memorize the script the night before kasi gusto kong galingan talaga. I wanted people to see that I was really trying,” Wurtzbach detailed.
“More than anything, I also wanted people to see that I wasn’t on the set this the notion that everyone will just accept me and let me be because I was Miss Universe,” she added.
In leaving her title outside the door work day after work day, Wurtzbach quickly earned the admiration and support of her director who in turn made it her mission to re-introduce the beauty queen-actress in a different light through the movie.
“I told her from the very beginning, I don’t want to see any traces of Miss Universe on my set and in fairness to Pia, wala kaming nararamdamang ganun. Minsan sugat sugat na siya from doing her scenes, but still we won’t hear a complaint from her,” Garcia-Molina proudly noted.
Even her leading man had nothing but praises for the far-from-diva attitude of Miss Universe.
“I was really nervous for Pia because not many people know that shooting is really unglamorous. You have to deal with the not-so Miss Universe setup, especially because we were in a secluded area. But when we got down to work, I was more than happy to realize that she’s really down to earth and easy to get along with as well,” Anderson said approvingly.
Much as niceties are good to have, however, they will not get the acting done. But in the case of the beautiful and grounded Wurtzbach, Garcia-Molina happily discovered that the 28-year-old actually has the makings of an actress.
“I will not call her performance kakaiba because wala akong pinanggagalingang comparison. From the beginning, ang gusto ko lang malaman, marunong ba ito umarte o hindi,” the director spoke plainly anew.
“Sa akin tama na yung kaya umarte. But in the case of Pia, hindi niya kaya umarte—magaling siya,” Gacia-Molina gave her verdict.
As proof, the director recalled a scene in which she most doubted Wurtzbach can deliver, describing it as a performance “I only demand from experienced actresses.”
“I told my team, delikado kasi magaling na artista lang ang nakakagawa, although prior to that big scene, we shot a less dramatic one and I saw the potential. So I went with my instinct and headed for the big one right away. True enough, she delivered with flying colors,” Molina continued as Wurtzbach fought back tears all over again.
“I’m so happy that she and Gerald exceeded my expectations and I’m looking forward to seeing more movies from them,” the director said before excusing herself from the interview.
As she left, Wurtzbach poured out her admiration for Garcia-Molina and said, “I appreciate her honesty and I feel lucky to have met a mentor in her.”
Gathering her thoughts, the international beauty queen and newest leading lady in Philippine Cinema concluded, “I am so grateful for this movie because now I understand why I had to go through all of those challenges and defeats—kasi darating din pala at the right time.”