Miss Universe 2015 Gives Back
Miss Universe 2015 Gives Back
“To be a Miss Universe is both an honor and 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 that is timely and relevant to my country which is the Philippines.”
Those were some of the last words audiences around the world heard from Pia Wurtzbach moments before she was crowned Miss Universe 2016. From before she was crowned, Pia recognized the importance of her role as an influential spokesperson for charitable initiatives. Throughout her reign, Pia dedicated herself to bringing awareness and working tirelessly for the initiatives her crown supports.
Events like serving meals with God’s Love We Deliver and visiting sick children in hospitals with Project Sunshine were staples of Pia’s day-to-day life during her reign. However, there were many other causes that Pia worked for.
Raising funds for Smile Train has been one of the initiatives that Pia has worked with since very early in her reign. As Pia said when the partnership was announced in January, “As Miss Universe, I look forward to lending my voice and a helping hand to continue to raise awareness for children born with cleft lip and palate in the developing world, including my home country, the Philippines.” Pia raised much needed funds for Smile Train throughout her reign through fundraising efforts like a morning facilitating trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
Pia has been a strong advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention through her work throughout the world this year. She regularly worked with GMHC in New York, the Latino Commission on AIDS and AMFAR. Pia attended several sessions at the 2016 United Nations High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, and learned about steps that she could take in her role to help end the disease. While there, Pia met the executive director of the UNAIDS Michel Sidibe, and remarked about how humbled she was to be congratulated by the undersecretary for her work to bring awareness of the epidemic to the Philippines.
As part of her efforts, Pia took a public HIV test to call attention to the importance of knowing your status.
Pia was also named an ambassador for National Women’s Health Week with other powerful women like Shonda Rhimes, Soledad O’Brien and Padma Lakshimi. Pia spoke on behalf of the importance of healthy living, noting that, “Nothing is more attractive than a woman who knows how to take care of herself in all aspects of her life, especially her health.”
Following the massive earthquake in Ecuador, Pia travelled to the country to work to raise funds and visit with those who had been displaced. “I feel that this moment is very close to my heart because we in the Philippines also suffered calamities,” Pia said.
Pia was recognized by a variety of organizations for her initiatives throughout the year. In May, Pia was recognized by the Apicha Community Health Center for her efforts as an advocate for the LGBT community and HIV/ AIDS patients. In addition, she was chosen as a Madrina (Godmother) to the Latino Commission on AIDS. Pia gave a speech to the organization about what she has learned as Miss Universe about the importance of knowing your status and how she plans to spread that message to people around the world.
As she passes the crown on January 29, Pia is excited to continue her work as an advocate for these causes in her home country of the Philippines and around the world. You can help Pia give back while also winning an exclusive chance to walk the red carpet with her at the MISS UNIVERSE® Competition by donating to Omaze to benefit Cordaid around the globe.