When one becomes the most beautiful woman in the universe, certain qualities would stand out.
How she is adjudged as Miss Universe takes crucial factors—those that really bring out her best and quite emphatically, how that distinctiveness resonates on the judges, the live audience, and the millions of viewers who stay glued on the pageant.
Part of this is how she carries herself onstage, donning either a sexy swimsuit, a glamorous evening gown or that unmistakable national costume. But the most important factor is how she keeps herself composed and eventually utter that unforgettable response in the question-and-answer portion, one that will ultimately decide her fate. Although, in this year’s Miss Universe, a new, final judging is based on her tangible, riveting overall “look” that will earn the crown.
In the near 65 years of the most prestigious beauty pageant in the world, three Filipinas have taken the stage, waving to everyone, bearing the crown and sash. And certainly, these three Filipinas have shown how they truly deserved the Miss Universe title in more ways than one—that distinct “x-factor” that truly wowed the judges and gripped the rest of the world.
Those who witnessed the coronation of Gloria Diaz as the Philippines’ first Miss Universe in 1969 at the Miami Beach Auditorium in Miami Beach, Florida, truly experienced how the Filipina has confidently come of age on the global stage. As she strutted through that merciless gauntlet of the high-brow upper echelon of American society and Hollywood A-Listers, Gloria would seem undaunted and fearless. This became her hallmark—showing to the whole world that an Asian, a Filipina could be smarter, better poised, more self-assured, and best of all, the wittiest among the most gorgeous in the universe.
This was all so evident in her final response in the Q&A:
Asked “In the next day or so, a man will land on the moon. If a man from the moon landed in your hometown, what would you do to entertain him?”
She calmly answered without batting an eyelash, “Oh, just the things I do. I think he has been on the moon for so long, I think when he comes over, he wants to change, I guess.”
When Margie Moran took the crown four years after Gloria at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Greece, people were just enamored not only by her utter beauty but also by her enrapturing charm and empathy towards the people around her.
Yes, she did take the stage extravagantly with her awesome class, look and confidence, but it was her heart that stood out. It was quite apparent in the way she looks at everyone and at the cameras all with an arresting yet warm smile that welcomes all within her sight.
This was much revealed in the Q&A when asked: “If you had a million dollars, what will you do with it?”
Margie answered. “I would buy a big house where I can live with all the people I love.”
Not only was her answer touching and aspirational, it emphasized the wonder of the Philippine culture: the deeply rooted love for family.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach
With Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach’s breathtaking and impressive ascent to the Miss Universe crown at The AXIS in Las Vegas, Nevada in December 2015, it was all encapsulated with the phrase, “confidently beautiful with a heart.” In fact, her defining statement truly was what Miss Universe was all about and she lived it.
From the preliminaries to the main pageant itself, Pia just wowed everyone with her beauty and elegance as she sashayed with that stunning evening gown, luscious swimwear and exquisite national costume. The way she carried herself throughout the competition made her truly a winner, especially with that dazzling face and that adorable smile.
But her defining moment came when she was asked two questions and answered each of them with great candor, confidence and passion. Asked about having US military bases in the Philippines:
Pia said: "I think that the US and Philippines have always had a good relationship with each other. We were colonized by the Americans and we have their culture and traditions even up to this day. I think we are very welcoming with the Americans and I don't see any problem with that at all."
And why she should be Miss Universe:
"To be a Miss Universe is an honor and a responsibility. If I were to be Miss Universe, I will use my voice to influence the youth and I would raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant to my country, which is the Philippines. I want to show the world that I am confidently beautiful with a heart."
And even if the host had made that awful mistake of announcing a different winner, her eventual coronation had been one incredible validation.
Gloria, Margie, and Pia are truly the pride of the country—not only as representations of the incredible beauty of the Filipina but also by being the most amazing and inspiring unique individuals--one deserving “x-factor” to becoming the most beautiful person in the universe.