Just two years ago, a woman said she was “confidently beautiful with a heart.” That woman was Pia Wurtzbach, the first Filipina to win the title of Miss Universe in 4 decades (Margie Moran won in 1973, 4 years after Gloria Diaz won in 1969). With the next Pageant Night in a few days, and with our country hosting to boot, we thought we’d look back at one of the most iconic lines from the last one.
The phrase “confidently beautiful with a heart” became the stuff of quotable quotes and memes. However, going beyond the witticisms, what did our beauty queen mean by this? Thank you for that question.
Let’s look at the full quote:
“To be a Miss Universe is both an honor and a responsibility. If I were to be Miss Universe, I will use my voice to influence the youth and I will raise awareness to certain causes like HIV awareness that is timely and relevant to my country. I want to show the world-the universe, rather- that I am confidently beautiful with a heart.” – Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach
For Wurtzbach, being a beauty queen isn’t just about wearing the swimsuits and the gowns. For her, it’s more than the prestige. By saying this, Wurtzbach communicated that to hold a prestigious position means one has the power and responsibility to use one’s words for good.
Once you become a public figure, history has its eyes on you and so the words you utter will also be the words you leave behind.
But, we can’t all be beauty queens. With that in mind, how can the average person she wants to influence, be confidently with a heart?
We have a few ideas.
Pia Wurtzbach chose the right words when she said “confidently beautiful.” It’s all about confidence. Beauty is founded on confidence, which is an outward projection of an inner self-love and acceptance.
It’s important to make the distinction that glamour does not equate to beauty. As cliche goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Rosy cheeks. Eyebrows on fleek. Fair skin. A voluptuous body. Often, these are the things people think about when it comes to beauty.
However, how we see the world is distorted wherein beauty is conflated with glamour. As a result, people get very narrow ideas of what beautiful is. Instead of being empowered, we become slaves to unrealistic standards of beauty.
Opposing this, we believe that nobody should have a monopoly on beauty.
When it comes down to it then, ordinary people like us can be confidently beautiful by simply loving ourselves. We don’t have to conform to a narrow criteria of beauty. It will certainly be challenging. There will be many narrow-minded people who insist on conventional ideas of beauty.
However, we are confident that whether you’re tall or short, skinny or plus-sized, tisay or morena, you can be beautiful. It takes courage to stand up and be yourself. But when you do, you potentially inspire others to be brave and be themselves as well. And when others begin standing up for themselves, it’s important to be open-minded and accept them too.
…with a heart
When she said she wanted to use her voice to advocate for important issues such as HIV awareness, she won the admiration of many. Pia Wurtzbach proved that she was no object simply to be gawked at. She asserted herself as a human being motivated by a good cause.
When people say “have a heart,” they pertain to having compassion. Often, compassion translates to helping others. We believe that compassion comes naturally to many people. However, what separates those “with a heart” and those who are “heartless” is how we develop or neglect compassion.
People can grow selfish and only care about themselves or their immediate family and friends. When we allow selfishness to take over us, we weaken our ability to be compassionate. If you look at the etymology of the word, compassion means “to suffer with” in Latin.
In our country, there are plenty things we suffer from. From the crushing inequality of wealth, to the paralyzing traffic, to the constant fear of being robbed or harassed, we are a people in suffering. While it might seem more practical to be selfish and look out only for oneself, we believe we are not that. We are Filipinos and the spirit of bayanihan still lives. You can see this in how there are many causes that you can support.
Causes to support
Here are a just few ways you can help others:
- Donate blood and learn to save lives with Philippine Red Cross.
- Save children from malnutrition while helping providing their educational needs with Save the Children.
- Take part in volunteer missions around the Philippines with Hands On Manila.
- Provide clean, drinking water for communities around the world including the Philippines with Waves for Water.
- Fight for climate justice with Greenpeace Philippines.
- Raise awareness on issues specific to the Philippine context with Dakila.
If you feel particularly philanthropic and may want to help beyond our shores, you can also go to Give Well to research on which charities provide the biggest impact to the most number of people.
These are just a few of the possible ways to help. Before all of this though, you can simply be a kind, compassionate person who helps people with whatever you have whenever you can. In the same way nobody has the monopoly on beauty, nobody also has the monopoly on social good.
When it comes to making this world a better place, everybody has a role to play. One doesn’t need to be the President, or a billionaire philanthropist, or a beauty queen to do social good. Everyone can do some social good. Think of the possibility when everybody pitches in and commits to doing something good everyday, no matter how small. Together, we have the power to make an impact. When we all assert ourselves and do good, we are able to better shape the world into one where everybody wins together.
I thank you.