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Pia Wurtzbach lives her dream

/ 03:24 AM April 01, 2016

ON the night of Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach’s now infamous coronation, my good friend, photographer Nigel Barker, e-mailed to tell me that we should feature Pia in Philippine Tatler. And so I promptly called her manager, Jonas Gaffud, who helped arrange the shoot and interview in New York.

Pia’s win is the first for the Philippines in 42 years, making her victory especially meaningful. We knew how busy she has become, appearing on the cover of many magazines, so it was a challenge how to make this particular shoot extra special.


Working with Nigel was already a dream come true for Pia.

“When I found out that he was going to be the photographer, I was very excited and nervous at the same time, because I wanted to make sure that the photos were going to come out nice,” she said.


Then we asked another pride of the Philippines, international fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, to provide the clothes for the shoot. Monique sent gowns from her F/W 2016 collection, and they were absolutely exquisite.

Two days after the shoot, Monique, with husband Tom Bugbee, invited Pia to watch her F/W 2016 collection, as well.

Lastly, we needed a venue that would capture the drama and beauty of Pia as well as Monique’s creations. I could only think of one place, the Baccarat Hotel—with all its crystal and chandeliers amid a modern setting, a perfect setting.

We were able to sit down with Pia the next day at Rue 57, a French brasserie just around the corner from her apartment.

It was late February, and the temperature, at minus five degrees, was quite daunting.

But Pia made us ignore the weather, just a few minutes into our interview. She told us about her uphill climb to the top, the significance of winning the Miss Universe crown, and what she plans to do during her reign.

We also got a bit more personal, touching on how she manages to get enough shut-eye despite her busy schedule; her love life; and how much her family means to her.


The Philippine Tatler April 2016 issue is available in leading bookstores, newsstands as well as Zinio, Magzter and Apple newsstands.

Photography: Nigel Barker

Stylist: Naheed Hadjisoff

Clothes: Monique Lhuillier

Location: Baccarat Hotel NY

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TAGS: Jonas Gaffud, Miss Universe, Pia Wurtzbach
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