In today’s culture, many people equate being a beauty queen to being perfect. With undeniable beauty, brains, plus the confidence to strut them all out, it seems that there’s nothing these women have to be insecure about.
For Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss Philippines International 2014 Bianca Guidotti-Santos not everything is as it seems.
Pia used to struggle with low self-esteem and back pain as a teenager because of her fully developed breasts.
“Noong bata ako, sobrang payat ko pero may boobs ako. So hiyang-hiya naman ako doon,” she said.
“I went through two back braces when I was a teenager. ‘Yung metal, ‘yung parang mga nasa movies,” she added. “Metal na braces sa bahay, dalawa, then I have a soft one under my uniform sa school. So parang, ‘you guys think this is a blessing? Kuba ako.’ Naging kuba ako as a teenager.”
And as the beauty queen hanged on to her back braces each day, she also had to endure being ridiculed by people around her.
“‘Yung mga tao kasi iniisip nila, pag-gifted ka, dapat proud ka or dapat you flaunt it. Pero when you’re a teenager and you get teased for it a lot, it also becomes a curse,” she continued. “Hindi mo rin masasabi na ang babae na may boobs, may hips, may pwet, nagiging confident sila. Hindi, ah. Nagiging target rin ‘yan ng teasing.”
Pia revealed this in a podcast titled “Bakit ang hirap magpapayat?” in the Spotify channel Between Us Queens that she hosts alongside Bianca and their friend Binibining Pilipinas 2014 candidate Carla Lizardo.
Bianca likewise had her fair share of confidence-breaking experiences in her teenage years. She said, “You know, a lot of people would say, ‘O, buti ka pa ang tangkad mo, such a gift to have.’ Pero honestly, may pagka-curse rin siya, especially when you’re a teenager growing up and you don’t like people looking at you when you’re walking at the mall.”
“Grabe I would be at the mall and little children would point at me and be like, ‘Mommy, o, ang laki niya, ang tangkad niya, o,’” she recalled. “And I’m just like, ‘Don’t look at me!’ I’m just an awkward teenager. And ‘cause I’m tall, when I was a teenager, wala talaga akong curves. I didn’t have chest and hips. And there was teasing. Mukha daw akong lalaki.”
Setting the right mindset
The beauty queens admitted that overcoming one’s insecurities is no easy feat, especially in an environment where people are prone to nitpick based on beauty stereotypes.
Pia related this to her recent trip to Brazil where she witnessed women of all ages and sizes wear their G-string bikinis at the beach as they please. “And I was thinking, ‘Why can’t we be like this at home in the Philippines where we can be confident in our own bodies?’” she said.
“‘Di ba sa Pilipinas—I mean not all naman—we are just so critical of each other na we just end up covering up ourselves and not being confident. And I guess, I would agree na it’s a cultural thing. Kaya tayo nahihiya, kaya tayo nape-pressure sa isa’t-isa, it’s because of the way people are,” the beauty queen-actress stressed.
For Bianca, growing the belief that you are in control of your body is key to shushing that negativity.
“I think we have to learn to own our body more, na hindi siya para sa mga tao,” she noted. “And I guess that would help in changing our mindset na my body is my own. Nobody else can tell me what I love about it, what I hate about it, they can’t tell me who I am because they see my body a certain way.”
Bianca added that “being kinder to yourself” and applauding yourself even on your little wins will keep you going in life.
“When you look at the mirror, be okay with it. As long as you know that you are trying your best, you know what you’re doing as a lifestyle to be healthy, to be able to live a longer life, to gain more experiences with your friends, with your loved ones. And of course, when you frame it out that way and not what you put out on social media—I have to have abs and coordinated outfits para people would think I’ve got it all together—when you shift that perspective to living a healthy lifestyle, it would be better,” the beauty queen advised.
“And when you fall into the trap, just catch yourself and get back on track. Not as easy as it sounds, but that’s the way to do it. And figure out what works for you, eat your veggies, eat your fruits, and trust the process. Wala naming deadline, wala naming pageant, it’s a lifetime,” Bianca said.
Banner photos from Pia Wurtzbach and Bianca Guidotti on Instagram.