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Pia Wurtzbach and BFFs say no to cancel culture but yes to redemption culture

!hola - MJ Marfori - The Philippine Star
Pia Wurtzbach and BFFs say no to cancel culture but yes to redemption culture
Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach (center) has been doing the podcast, Between Us Queens, with (from left) best friends and former beauty queens Bianca Guidotti-Santos and Carla Lizardo. They have since expanded to launch their first-ever vlog
STAR / File

We continue to up the ante as Women’s Month comes to a close. This time, we had a thorough conversation with three super women — Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, her best friends and former beauty queens Carla Lizardo and Bianca Guidotti-Santos, whom she shares a podcast with, Between Us Queens.

Within a year of doing the show and starting with pageant related issues, they realized that there is so much more to be discussed as women. Just this month, they expanded and launched their first-ever vlog.

Aptly named The Queens, the vlog is a passion project of the trio for their community to broadcast women empowerment with topics that range from beauty, womanhood, friendship, relationships and current events.

This columnist interviews the trio about their latest project just in time for Women’s Month.

They also hold online workbook sessions, so that they can answer and reflect on the workbook topics along with their listeners.

Carla even took a break from her Sports 5 reporting, to focus on this.

“I had to focus on this full-time because the workbooks we also created on our website took time and we really want to grow the community. We realized that the content we created was just a conversation starter, but what was really important to us was this community,” she said.

Just a little backtrack on their friendship, which formed during their pageant days, seven years in the making, and it all began at the Binibining Pilipinas 2014. The three met at the national pageant and became close friends.

As the years went by, they dreamt of doing projects together but could never find the right one. Despite their careers leading them to different paths, The Queens — as what the three of them are collectively called — kept the friendship alive and when the pandemic hit, things simply fell into place.

As Pia put it, “The Queens became a safe space online where you can be yourself.”

Now, they are rebranding the whole ecosystem to “The Queens.” For the queens. By the queens. No issue is left unspoken between them and since it’s pageant season in the Philippines, they talked about the blackfishing that went down at the Miss Universe Philippines.

Miss San Pablo, Laguna Shaira Aliyah Diaz allegedly claimed that she is a black woman and she was exposed by American pageant vlogger Davonna Finley. Turns out Shaira is purely Asian. With this, Pia tried to look for Shaira online but her socials are deactivated already.

“She needs to be guided a lot,” said she. “Honestly, it is difficult to be a candidate and there’s a tendency to overthink on how you might stand out in a sea of beautiful women.”

Pia also said that Shaira’s back story is worth a listen and the bashing right now surely is not good for her mental health. “Actually, medyo naawa ako kasi masakit ma-cancel,” she added.

Circling back to the trio, with issues such as this, they also began the #WeAreAllQueens social campaign, the goal of which is to spread a powerful message. That we are queens in our own right, regardless of titles or appearances.

We have our own crowns and therefore, we are all Queens. To amplify the stories of other women, those who share using the hashtag also get a chance to be featured on The Queens social media accounts.

In their first YouTube vlog, The Queens shared their thoughts on what this project means for them. For Carla, it’s about finding purpose and direction.

“It means the world to me because during the pandemic, I was feeling pretty lost. So, it was great that I was able to connect with so many amazing people through this platform,” said Carla. “So, it’s just something super special and I feel like it’s been years since we’ve been wanting to work on a passion project together. And it was also the realization that it is actually something that I want to do. I thought that it would be a ‘side thing,’ but no, it actually grew to be something that we are mainly focusing on, something that we really, really truly care about, and something that we want to grow in the years ahead.”

To Pia, it’s the fulfillment of doing something you’re passionate about.

“It is a passion project that I’m really proud of, finally for a while, for a few years,” she shared. “I’ve been so focused on, you know, work like endorsements, and acting projects but I didn’t really have a personal project like a real passion project. And I’m really happy that I have this now because it feels very fulfilling. I feel like I’m really doing something meaningful with my time. You know, it feels really nice to help and give back.”

Meanwhile, Bianca looks forward to sharing this passion project with all of the queens.

“It kind of feels like my life’s work, honestly. I’m just so excited to be able to do it with two of my best friends and to be able to share it with Filipino women and hopefully, you know, women all over the world. It’s everything.”

This passion project is aimed at empowering queens all over the country and the world, and despite their busy schedules, the three say that The Queen’s community will be a top priority for them.

CARLA LIZARDO

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