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Pia Wurtzbach on her Madame Tussauds wax figure, and why she wants Lea Salonga to have one next

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Mar 24, 2024 10:38 am

Even as eight years have passed since winning the coveted Miss Universe crown, Pia Wurtzbach continues to make her mark on the global scene.

Whether she’s encouraging confidence and body positivity online, sharing heartening messages through her stories, redefining fashion with her jaw-dropping looks, or simply living her life to the fullest, Pia remains a strong force everywhere she goes.

And now, she’ll be inspiring others with her magnetic charm next in Singapore as her very own wax figure has become the latest addition to the Madame Tussauds Singapore family.

PhilSTAR L!fe had a chance to have a heart-to-heart conversation with the 34-year-old beauty queen as she explored her milestone of having a statue at Madame Tussauds and what's in store for her next.

Who Pia wants to have a wax figure of next

Having made history as the first Filipino to have a wax figure at the prestigious wax museum, Pia regards this moment as a huge achievement not just for her, but for Filipinos as well.

“I'm very grateful and honored that they chose me as their first one, and aside from a personal achievement, I also think this is important because it means that they're really interested in seeing more Filipino representation in other countries such as Hong Kong and now in Singapore,” Pia said.

She noted how the likes of Catriona Gray, Manny Pacquiao, and Anne Curtis have now followed in her footsteps to have their image and likeness displayed at Madame Tussauds, stressing that Filipinos are now being recognized in different parts of the world.

When asked who should take the fifth spot for the next Filipino at the prestigious wax museum, Pia only had one person in mind.

“I really think it's about time that Ms. Lea Salonga had a wax figure too. I think she is also very much iconic and she is etched in our hearts as a Filipina who has represented us in film, music, and Broadway,” she answered.

“She's a person that, even when I see her in real life, I still get starstruck and I want to have a photo with her and it would be nice to have a wax figure of her. Maybe they can play her songs or hear her voice and I think that would be a really good idea,” she added.

The story behind her pose

Recalling her “unforgettable” moment when she first saw her Madame Tussauds wax figure, whom she fondly refers to as “P2,” Pia said that “it was a bit shocking and thrilling" at the same time.

“The unveiling was definitely the highlight of my life,” she said.

As the first Filipina to win the title of Miss Universe in four decades after Margarita Moran in 1973, there’s nothing more fitting for her pose other than her crowning moment, but Madame Tussauds put a twist on that by making her statue hold out the crown to the next winner.

Recalling the pose’s origin, Pia explained, “[Madame Tussauds] really thinks about what's the best pose that interacts with the fans. I'm glad that they chose a crowning moment and it's not my crowning moment. It's crowning someone else.”

She continued, “It gives people the chance to feel like they’re being crowned Miss Universe. I think it's a genius idea, thought by Madame Tussauds. I think that's why it's also so effective. It's because people get kilig and they want to have that picture as if they’re being crowned.”

The sculpting process was no walk in the park. Her height, body, face, smile, eyes, skin tone, and more were all meticulously measured to ensure that her wax figure stayed true to the original.

“Even my teeth, that’s from my dentist. They got my dental impression,” Pia shared.

The look was completed with an original cobalt blue gown by fashion designer Michael Cinco, which he made especially for the wax figure.

The queen's reign lives on

Pia’s Madame Tussauds statue adds to the many legacies she’ll be leaving behind. In 100 years from now, she hopes that people will remember her for more than just the crown.

“What I really want is to leave a lasting impression on people not just as a Miss Universe winner, but also with the work that I've done after Miss Universe. I'm still very much active in my advocacies,” she highlighted.

She shared that on World AIDS Day, she’s going to auction off her Miss Universe memorabilia and use the funds to build a youth center in Metro Manila.

“That will be my goal for next year since [it's] going to be my 10th year anniversary. It's great that we get to do something like this. It's been five years since we launched this wax figure, but it still reminds me of a very iconic time in my life,” Pia said.

The past year has been one fruitful time for the beauty queen. Not only did she become a best-selling author with her very first novel Queen of the Universe, which is loosely based on her own life story of venturing into the world of beauty pageants, but she was also hailed as one of the “most visible influencers” during Milan Fashion Week.

Reflecting on this, the multifaceted queen said that she is just really having fun with it.

“Every time I do something, I make sure that it's something that I like to do, I have fun doing, and that I enjoy it. So I think the good thing about that is people see it. They see that I'm having fun, I’m evolving, I’m trying different things,” Pia said.

“I'm not boxing myself into one category. Yes, I was a Miss Universe winner, but I'm also into business. I'm also an entrepreneur. I'm a very active advocate up to now, and that was also a big feat to finish the novel,” she continued.

Her career in literature isn’t over yet as she is now planning to release a self-help book that helps readers gain confidence and have a winning mindset.

“These are all part of my plan. I always have a list of things I want to do and things I want to achieve and I just take my time ticking those boxes, so I'm really grateful that even if magte-ten years na since [I won] Miss Universe, but people still go back to that time and it’s still very much celebrated,” Pia said.

Pia’s wax figure is currently available for viewing at Madame Tussauds Singapore from March 24 to Sept. 1 only, so don’t miss this chance to take some Instagram-worthy pictures with the queen of the universe herself.

The museum is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and will kick off celebrations with more exciting figure launches, activities, and promotions in the coming months. If you’re already set on buying tickets, you can purchase your passes through this link.