Dubai: For many Filipinos, having one’s ethnicity represented and promoted to an international audience is something to be jubilant about.
Netizens from the Philippines couldn’t hold their excitement when it was announced on Monday that a beauty title holder will make history as the first-ever Filipino to be immortalized in a statue at a famed waxwork museum that originated in London.
Madame Tussauds, which has been historically associated with the British capital, confirmed that it will create a lifelike wax figure of Pia Wurtzbach, a Filipino who was crowned Miss Universe 2015.
The statue will be on display in early 2019 at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, and join other A-list celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Taylor Swift and Brad Pitt, among others.
Social media users from the Philippines burst in excitement over the news and an announcement on Instagram alone went viral, attracting more than 3,000 likes in three hours.
“Wow! She is truly our pride. We are so proud of you, Pia,” said one user. “I hope the figure will be in the blue gown,” said another user.
The museum said Pia recently went through the measurement process – also known as ‘sitting’—for her wax figure with a team from London.
“It was really quite a process and it’s so high tech. One second, they were only taking photo of my face then next thing I know, I see my face from different angles so instantly. It’s amazing,” Pia said.
“They even did this process with Queen Elizabeth II,” she exclaimed.
According to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, it’s only fitting that Pia becomes the first Filipino to be immortalized in a wax figure at the museum. Pia hasn’t just bagged a global crown, she has gone above and beyond her title by bringing light to HIV/Aids issues as a UNAids ambassador and “setting an example of confidence and strength.”
“With Pia’s sweet, positive and fun personality, we really could not have imagined having anyone but her to represent the Philippines in this way,” said Jenny You, the museum’s general manager.
“More than being a queen, she has all the makings of an icon and we’re proud to be able to house her wax figure … for the rest of the world to be able to interact with.”
In May 2017, UNAids appointed Pia as a goodwill ambassador for Asia and the Pacific. As part of her role, Pia is tasked to raise HIV awareness among young people and promote zero discrimination towards people living with HIV and key populations.
“(Pia) has been actively involved in humanitarian affairs, speaking out against cyberbullying and supporting people living with HIV,” UNAids said in a release.