Text and Photos by Noli A. Berioso
Before she finally relinquished her crown on January 30, 2017 to her deserving successor, Iris Mittenaere from France, 2015 Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach was given a lavish tribute held at the Harbor Tent of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel last January 22.
The event was organized by her Aces and Queens family led by Jonas Gaffud, head of the Mercator Modeling Agency and creative director of Miss Universe 2016.
It was an emotional yet a successful tribute where the life of Pia as Miss Universe was told thru songs and dances.
All eighty-six candidates for Miss Universe 2016 attended the event and was touched by how Pia struggled as an aspiring beauty queen before she went on her way to winning the most prestigious title in the universe.
Family and close friends including Marlon Stockinger were there to support and cheer Pia for the global recognition accorded to her.
Meanwhile, Miss Universe Organization head Paula Shugart was very impressed with the reception of the Filipinos and how the local organizers ran the most prestigious beauty pageant in the universe.
Miss Universe 2016 coronation night was held on January 30, 2017 hosted by Steve Harvey and Ashley Graham. An impeccable panel of judges graced Miss Universe 2016 led by Cynthia Bailey, actress, model, and The Real Housewives Atlanta star; Mickey Boardman, Editorial Director of Paper Magazine; Francine LeFrak, theater/television/film producer; Leila Lopes, Miss Universe 2011 from Angola; Sushmita Sen, Bollywood star and Miss Universe 1994; and Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993 from Puerto Rico. Boyz II Men and Flo Rida provided the world-class performance during the finals night held at the MOA Arena.
Incidentally, Pia has shared on stage with Steve Harvey during the finals night that she has inked a contract with IMG, a talent group that also owns the Miss Universe pageant. Indeed, relinquishing her crown is not the end for Queen Pia as we are going to be seeing her in the global arena.