By Vianca Gamboa
How amazing it is to witness a hyper realistic, non-breathing version of our local idols, but it’s the surreal fact that a Filipina is speeding right past the #LegendsOnly list by sharing a home with wax versions of famous personalities in entertainment, sports, science, politics, and fashion—and into the top spot of the #PinoyPride category.
You’ve probably heard by now that our very own Pia Wurtzbach, the Miss Universe 2015, was revealed as the first Filipino ever to have a wax figure at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
The beauty queen slash humanitarian is also the UNAIDS ambassador, helping shed light to HIV/AIDS issues and break related stigma.
In celebration of the iconic museum’s 19th year, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong looked no further than its neighboring country to choose someone for its addition to its roster of personalities. “The Philippines is a very important market to Hong Kong. We welcome over 10,000 Filipinos every year to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. A couple of years ago, we heard some Filipinos asking why there was no Filipino wax figure in Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. We think that’s a really valid point, and we started thinking about it and have been working on this. We’ve always believed we should have a Filipino wax figure, so we’re very pleased to have Pia Wurtzbach mark this milestone with us,” says Madame Tussauds Hong Kong general manager Jenny You.
“It’s also very important that we have to select someone whose character and impact are truly iconic. And also, this person should represent Philippines so we looked at all the fields from sports to politics to beauty, personality. I think as a beauty queen, model, actress, TV personality, and UNAIDS ambassador, Pia is truly a global icon loved all over the world. We can’t imagine having anyone but her to represent the Philippines in this way,” she says.
Pia who was visibly excited, saysm “When I found out, I couldn’t believe it! In my head, this is something that only happens to big stars… I said yes right away without batting an eyelash! I didn’t even think about it. I was so excited then because I go to Madame Tussauds and I know how fun it is.”
THE MAKING OF AN ICON
Pia’s wax figure was recently unveiled in a press conference in EDSA Shangri-La and was later displayed at the SM Mega Fashion Hall for the #PiaMadeIconic Travel Festival so fans could take a look, in awe, of course, of her twin up close. Her wax figure (uncannily resembling Pia so much that if you look up close, you will get goose bumps) is donning the replica of the iconic Swarovski-embellished royal blue ball gown by renowned designer of the stars, Michael Cinco. This is the gown that she wore when she passed the crown to her successor Iris Mittenaere of France. It was tailor-made for the second time by the designer himself. “Dressing up her wax figure and to represent our country is already an honor and a great experience in my career. It is an impalpable dream come true,” he said. The wax figure is also wearing a replica of the Mikimoto pearl crown that she wore for her final photo shoot as Miss Universe, instead of her official DIC (Diamonds International Corporation) crown from 2015. To make it interactive, Madame Tussauds immortalized the crown-passing moment instead of the most iconic coronation ever (never forget) so “…people can be crowned as a Miss Universe and take lots of pictures. You can touch, interact. The gown itself is heavier than the wax figure so that’s a nice trivia,” Pia shared.
Pia, gracing the event in the exact same gown, prepped by the same HMUA and all, as her double, shared in the press conference what went on in the process of making her wax figure—with précised and jaw-dropping details. “It was really quite a process and it’s so high tech. One second they were only taking a photo of my face then next thing I know, I see my face from different angles so instantly. It’s amazing.”
She said that the measurement alone took a few hours but that didn’t tire her out because she came prepared. “They measured everything manually. I did the pose for a few hours but it was fine, no problem! I think it was about four hours but okay lang. I remember, when they asked me to do the smile, I was thinking, ‘okay, this has to be my best smile kasi hindi na mababago ito, ‘yung smile ko, ‘yun na ‘yun,’” she said. “They got everything right, like the color of the hair, the color of my eyes. They even got my dental impression from my dentist… So if you see it, makikita mo may veins pa nga siya sa kamay. Ang galing talaga. Super. They really tried their best to replicate my look at the Miss Universe 2016 coronation night. Event at that time, I did have red nail polish.”
The wax figure was finally flown into its permanent location, Madame Tussauds Hong Kong alongside stars’ replicas like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Pia’s K-Pop favorite Siwon Choi. Another reason to file visiting Hong Kong under your bucket list.