By Ed Diokno
Apparently, there’s more to Miss Universe than simply looking beautiful and smiling for the cameras. Well, smiling, looking good and remaining
perfectly poised is part of the job description and she had to do lots of that during a flurry of television appearances Monday morning.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, who represented the Philippines, wants to use her celebrity status as the newly crowned Miss Universe to promote HIV prevention, improving donations for disaster relief and anti-bullying work. In her first official act as Miss Universe, Wurtzbach was interviewed on Good Morning America Monday on U.S. television. It was a busy morning for Wurtzbach as she made the rounds of the morning shows including Live with Kelly & Michael, Access Hollywood and Extra TV.
As one of the two semi-finalists for the Miss Universe crown two weeks ago ago, Wurzbach was stunned as everyone else watching the show in one of the most controversial pageants in recent memory, when emcee Steve Harvey announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez Arevalo, as the new Miss Universe and Miss Philippines as First Runner-up. Seconds later, Harvey apologized for his error and named Wurtzbach as Miss Universe.
In an extremely awkward moment, the sparkling silver crown was taken off Miss Colombia and transferred to Miss Philippines. Supporters of Miss Colombia, including high-ranking officials in the Colombian government, began expressing their displeasure at the pageant on social media where the hashtag #RespectTheCrown trended. “They put the crown on her head,” Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Monday. “The photos are there to prove it. To me, as a Colombian, she is still Miss Universe.”
The poised Wurtzbach expertly danced around the controversy when asked by GMA’s Lara Spencer if she would be willing to share the crown, as suggested by some of Arevalo’s supporters. “I think it would be a little bit difficult for two girls to share a crown,” Wurtzbach answered, smiling, “but I have high hopes that this will this give great opportunities for me and Miss Colombia.”
Wurtzbach is the first Asian winner since 2007 when Riyo Mori won the Miss Universe crown representing Japan. The last Miss Philippines to win the title was Margie Moran in 1973.
(Ed Diokno writes a blog :Views From The Edge: news and analysis from an Asian American perspective.)