Childhood & Early Career
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was born in Stuttgart, West Germany, on September 24, 1989 to a Filipino mother and a German father as the oldest child in the family. She has a younger sister.
Pia’s middle name Alonzo happens to be her mother’s maiden name. This is a Filipino tradition to use mother’s name as the middle name. However, it was originally a Spanish naming custom but many Filipinos follow that.
The family moved to Iligan, Philippines, soon after Pia was born. After staying there for some time the family moved to Cagayan de Oro. However, being a half-German, she was learning three languages from her very early toddler years. Just as she started speaking, within a few years she learned English, Filipino and German. She speaks fluent Cebuano, English, and Tagalog, while she speaks basic German.
As for her education, she started attending kindergarten at Kong Hua School and later attended Corpus Christi school. But her studies got heavily influenced negatively when she witnessed the separation of her parents. She was 9 years old then and seeing her family going down into a financial crisis, she decided to work herself to make the ends meet. She finished her Secondary Education at ABS-CBN Distance Learning Center in Quezon City, Metro Manila.
She signed up with Star Magic Talent, one of the biggest talent agencies in Philippines and immediately started getting modelling and acting offers even before she became a teenager. She adopted the stage name Pia Romero and appeared in several films and TV series’ such as ‘K2BU,’ ‘ASAP,’ ‘Your Song,’ ‘Bora’ and ‘Sa Piling Mo.’ In addition, she also appeared in films such as ‘All About Love’ and ‘All My Life.’
Even though she had a bright future in the entertainment field, she had a wide variety of interests. One of them was culinary arts. Just as she finished her secondary school education, she enrolled at the ‘Center for Asian Culinary Studies,’ in Metro Manila, Philippines. She also worked as a beauty writer, stylist and a makeup artist before she embarked into pageantry.
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Beauty Pageants & the Subsequent Career
Pia joined Binibining Pilipinas in 2013 for the first time. It happens to be the biggest local beauty pageant in the country. She performed spectacularly and was named the first runner up at the end of the pageant. This relative success further encouraged her to enter the pageant next year as well. In Binibining Pilipinas 2014, she performed poorly and could only make a place in the top 15.
The third time was a charm and by the time Binibining Pilipinas 2015 culminated, she was crowned the winner and earned the Miss Universe Philippines title. It gave her the pass to enter the Miss Universe 2015 pageant representing Philippines.
The Miss Universe 2015 pageant was held in Las Vegas, United States and she answered all the questions impeccably well to be crowned the next Miss Universe. However, the final results announcement landed into a major controversy when the announcer Steve Harvey misread that the Columbian beauty Ariadna Gutierrez was the winner. But he corrected his mistake a few seconds later and Pia was honoured with the crown of Miss Universe 2015.
Pia also became the third Filipino woman in the history to be crowned with the title. Following the incident during the crowning ceremony and the fact that she had been the first Filipino Miss Universe in over 40 years turned her into an instant international celebrity.
Post her title win, several national and international brand endorsement offers rained down on her. In January 2016, she shot for a commercial in Indonesia for a vitamin brand named ‘C 1000.’ Once she was done with the shoot, she arrived back in her home country and was welcomed like a superstar. She embarked on a week-long celebration tour in several cities across Philippines such as Manila, Makati and Quezon City.
She was also personally congratulated by several major politicians from Philippines and she returned courtesy calls to them. As more work started coming her way, she travelled to San Francisco in order to work briefly as a special correspondent for Super Bowl 50.
A few weeks later, she gave an emotional speech against bullying at the Speakers Forum organized for International Students of the Language Academy of Canada. During her speech, she also shared her very own personal experiences of dealing with bullying when she was a kid and new in Philippines. She also met up with the contestants from Miss Universe Canada 2016 pageant and offered them advices.
In April 2016, she shot a commercial for Philippine Airlines and further met with the contestants of Binibining Pilipinas 2016 during a press event. She was called up to crown the pageant winner and she crowned Maxine Medina as her successor as Miss Universe Philippines 2016. In addition to that, she also served as the judge for Miss Peru 2016 pageant.
In the next few months, she was invited to several countries as the Miss Universe 2015. Some of the countries that she visited during the next few months are Peru, Canada, Ecuador, Indonesia, Thailand, United States, United Arab Emirates and Panama.
In 2017, she appeared as a judge on the fifth cycle of ‘Asia’s Next Top Model.’ In the same year, it was announced that she would star opposite the Filipino superstar Daniel Padilla in a film titled ‘Gandarrapido: The Revenger Squad.’ The film turned out to be a major critical and commercial success and became one of the highest grossing Filipino films of the year. Pia had made her film comeback after almost a decade and that contributed greatly to the overall success of the film.
Family & Personal Life
Pia Wurtzbach has been named the ambassador for UNAIDS, a United Nation’s initiative for eradication for HIV/AIDS. She became the ambassador for the Asia Pacific region. Even before she joined UN as an ambassador, she had been raising her voice against the illness.
Pia is extremely liberal about her views on same sex marriages. She has been openly condemning laws that are opposed to the LGBT communities. She also has openly declared that she has no plans to get married or have children anytime in the near future.
In January 2017, Pia herself confirmed that she was in a relationship with Filipino-Swiss popular race car driver Marlon Stockinger.
She stood a great chance at Binibining Pilipinas 2014, but she stumbled over a question during the event. This had her ending up only in the top 15 list.