Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (English: /wɜːrtsbæk, -bɑːk/ WORDS-back; Tagalog: [ˈpɪjɐ ɐˈlɔnsɔ ˈwuɾtsbɐk]; German: [ˈvʊʁtsbax]; born September 24, 1989), formerly known professionally as Pia Romero, is a Filipina model, actress and beauty queen who is known for being crowned Miss Universe 2015.
She joined Binibining Pilipinas pageant three times, and won in 2015 in her third attempt. She then represented Philippines at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant, where she eventually won the title, becoming the first Filipina to win the pageant in four decades, and the first Filipina to win the pageant in the 21st century. She is the third Filipina to win the title of Miss Universe, following Gloria Diaz who won in 1969 and Margie Moran who won in 1973, and was succeeded by Catriona Gray three years later, with Gray winning Miss Universe 2018.
Early life and education
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was born in Stuttgart, Germany, to a German father and Filipino mother. She has a sister who is two years younger than she is. The family later moved to Northern Mindanao region in the Philippines, first in Iligan city, then settled at Cagayan de Oro city, where she attended kindergarten at Kong Hua School and primary school at Corpus Christi School.
Her parents separated when she was 11 years old, and she became the family’s main breadwinner by modeling and acting. After being raised in the Philippines, she spent several years in England. She finished her secondary education at ABS-CBN Distance Learning Center in Quezon City, Metro Manila, and studied culinary arts at the Center for Asian Culinary Studies in San Juan, Metro Manila. Wurtzbach speaks fluent Cebuano, English, and Tagalog. She also speaks basic German, which she described as “enough to get myself a bratwurst“.
Wurtzbach is a professional model, actress, host and TV personality. She began acting at age four under the stage name Pia Romero. Managed by ABS-CBN Corporation‘s talent agency, Star Magic, she was included on the Star Circle Batch 11. Among her TV credits are the teen-oriented series K2BU, the concert variety program ASAP, the romance anthology Your Song, the sitcom show Bora, and the drama series Sa Piling Mo. She appeared in films such as Kung Ako Na Lang Sana (2003), All My Life (2004), and All About Love (2006). She went on to become a stylist, makeup artist and beauty writer for Philippine Daily Inquirer‘s 2bU section. She then had to temporarily quit showbiz in order to focus on the Miss Universe pageant.
After becoming Miss Universe 2015, she returned to ABS-CBN after signing a two-year exclusive contract on October 9, 2017. She appeared as a guest host in ASAP and the co-host of World of Dance Philippines with Luis Manzano.