March 29, 2019 – Vinz Lamorena
We were told to take a seat at the table located at the very edge of the room, quite far from the stage adorned with the words “Pia Made Iconic.” A wide-eyed, charming 4-year-old greeted us as we approached, and we were surprised it was Pia’s very own niece seated right beside us.
Lara Wurtzbach-Mazen looked simply adorable in her simple black dress, with her hair braided in a tight bun. Her mom had just told her to behave and sit like a lady, and right after she adjusted herself in the middle of her chair, she whispered to my ear: “Tita Pia is inside that red curtain.”
She pointed at the figure enclosed right in the middle of the stage. As the young girl waited for the program to start, she couldn’t help but constantly say “I want to see her already!”
It was a feeling that everyone in that room shared. Right before us was the very first Madame Tussauds wax figure of a Filipino, with the final look of the icon even concealed from the muse herself.
As Madame Tussauds Hong Kong general manager Jenny You and Pia Wurtzbach pulled the curtain back to unveil the figure, the very first words that slipped out of the 2015 Miss Universe was in the tune of disbelief and joy. “I feel like I won again,” Pia said staring at her life-sized and undeniably life-like replica.
It was 2016 when we first saw her in a regal sapphire Michael Cinco gown. Every inch of her dress was adorned with Swarovski crystals, and it glimmered endlessly as she waltzed her way through the stage. Pia’s hair was beautifully slicked back, and her hands carried the pageant’s legendary Mikimoto crown. The commemorative piece was ready to be placed on the next beauty queen up for the title, one lucky enough to be called the most beautiful girl in the universe.
Staring back at the crowd was a 6-foot wax figure recreating this exact same sight. It was the momentous passing of the crown that was immortalized. Not only will this be the first Filipino icon in the halls of the Tussauds museum, it is dressed by a celebrated Filipino designer, too. Cinco recreated the same exact gown for the figure, with no single detail altered.
(RELATED READ: Only this weekend: See the Pia Wurtzbach wax figure and score free Madame Tussauds Hong Kong passes)
The Filipino icon’s wax figure lets the museum visitors get their own crowning moment, emphasizing that Madame Tussauds is shifting to a more interactive approach when it comes to the new additions to their gallery of stars. The museum wants people to touch, pose, and take photos with the different wax figures in their halls.
It took six months to create this wax statue, with 20 artists bringing this icon and her very own unique moment to life. Pia revealed they made her stay in the same position for hours, but her elation triumphed through any kind of fatigue.
“Who was I to complain? I’m a big fan of Madame Tussauds! I even found a throwback photo of myself from 10 years ago when I visited the one in Vegas. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have my own—that I would be one of them,” Pia shared.
Pia scrutinized every inch of the replica before her, but this only left her amazed by its accuracy in rendering even the smallest of details. “They got everything right—the color of my hair, my eyes, even the teeth. Everything!” The beauty queen proceeded to trace the veins on the hands of the figure and pointed out the pigmentations on the skin.
“I was doing that pose for about four hours, but they only took two shots of me smiling. I kept telling myself ‘Make this work, Pia—you only get to do this smile once, and that’s it forever!’ I feel relieved it turned out nice,” she said.
“When we were taking the measurements, I just had my dental impression updated. The studio we were shooting in was so near my dentist,” Pia shared. The Miss Universe turned multiplatform celebrity was actually the one who suggested to get her dental records to make the figure more accurate and realistic in that regard.
Pia’s wax replica will be displayed in the museum’s fashion zone, and it will be right beside the statue of contemporary supermodel Kendall Jenner. The room features a runway, where visitors are encouraged to show their best model walk.
While most Filipinos would be giddy going around Madame Tussauds to finally see this Miss Universe figure starting this April, Pia herself had her own fangirl moments in the must-visit tourist attraction. She shared that while they went around in the Hong Kong flagship museum in February, she was on the lookout for the statue of Super Junior’s Choi Siwon.
It was the first thing she scanned the room for every time they entered a new exhibit area. “I knew that his wax figure was somewhere there, and I was so thrilled we were gonna be at the same place,” Pia shared.
The crowd swarmed in front of the stage as Pia recalled how they brought this wax figure together, how she said yes to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity without batting an eyelash, and how this reveal felt like another Miss Universe winning moment. Cameras continued to flash as the beauty queen posed with her doppelgänger, and while the commotion never seemed to stop, a little girl stared quietly from the corner of the room. Pia’s niece only had her eyes on the woman of the hour.
“The first time she saw the figure, Lara actually cried,” Pia told alike. “I think she got overwhelmed that there were two of us. She kept looking at it so I asked her, ‘Who’s prettier—me or her?’ And then she paused! So I told myself, ‘Okay, I have to look as good as the wax figure,” Pia joked, leaving a huge grin on her face.
“Then, finally, Lara said: You look better.”
Photos by Vinz Lamorena
REAL PEOPLE, REAL STORIES. WE COVER PERSONALITIES WHO ARE WORTHY OF MAKING THE HEADLINES. PROFILES, LIFESTYLE, CULTURE, ARTS, LITERATURE, ENTERTAINMENT—TELLING STORIES THAT MAKE US FEEL AND CELEBRATE LIFE. WE ARE ALIKE. FOR STORY PITCHES, PERSONAL ESSAY, LITERARY, AND ART SUBMISSIONS: EDITORIAL@ALIKE.COM.PH