Miss Universe to push HIV awareness after crowning blunder

MANILA - The new Miss Universe, back in the Philippines after an epic televised blunder surrounding her crowning, said Sunday she would use the attention the incident attracted to campaign for HIV awareness, especially in her home country.

See Full Article

In front of an estimated one billion television viewers worldwide last December, pageant host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, as Miss Universe before correcting himself minutes later.

The diamond and sapphire crown was removed from the head of a sobbing and humiliated Gutierrez and transferred to Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines.

Wurtzbach, speaking to reporters about her plans, said she would undergo a "public testing" for HIV when she returns to the United States where the Miss Universe Organization is based, to erase the stigma surrounding the disease.

"It's about time someone like me should step up and hopefully others would follow suit as well," Wurtzbach, 26, told AFP.

"I think in the Philippines, there's a bit of a stigma because we're a conservative country."

The Philippines reported a 22 percent increase in HIV infections year-on-year in September last year. Four in ten of the new cases were reported in the capital Manila.

The nation of 100 million people, on whom 80 percent are Catholic, is heavily influenced by the church which frowns on contraceptive use. Testing for HIV is also considered taboo.

In the very few minutes she stood at the back of the Las Vegas stage at the end of the pageant, Wurtzbach said she accepted being first runner-up as a huge crowd of disappointed but proud fans in the audience waved Filipino flags.

"I told myself, I fell short, what a waste. But it's okay. I did everything I could and the most important thing is everybody is proud of me," she said.

That was until Harvey admitted his unprecedented gaffe.

"I was so happy. I was so excited. I couldn't describe it. It was something the Philippines has been waiting for for a long time."

Wurtzbach said she stood by her statement during the pageant's interview question, that Filipinos welcomed the return of US soldiers to their former bases in the Philippines.

"The Americans have always been our friend, we've always worked with them... I don't think there's anything wrong with asking for help when we need it," she said.

Beauty pageants like Miss Universe have cult followings in the Philippines and former titleholders go on to lucrative careers in movies and modelling.

It was the Philippines' first title in 42 years and the third since the pageant started in the 1950s.

Her one-week long homecoming itinerary includes a grand parade around Manila on Monday, courtesy calls on President Benigno Aquino and both houses of parliament and a concert at one of the capital's biggest indoor stadiums.

Wurtzbach had been modelling since she was 11 and played bit roles in movies and television, but her entertainment career never hit the big league until she won Miss Universe. She lost in the local contest twice before earning the right to represent her country in the pageant.

The Filipina-German, with her smouldering gaze, said she dreams of becoming an "Bond Girl" in future 007 movies.

Wurtzbach, who is rumoured to have dated the 55-year-old Aquino, said she would stay single to concentrate on her duties as Miss Universe and pursue her Hollywood dream.

"This is my boyfriend for now," a beaming Wurtzbach said, as she clutched the porcupine-shaped crown on her head.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Straight Outta Compton, Vin Scully's call to be preserved by Library of Congress

    Entertainment CBC News
    First it became the basis for an Oscar-nominated movie. Now, Straight Outta Compton — the groundbreaking album from rap group N.W.A. and a one-time flashpoint in the nation's culture wars — has been selected for the prestigious U.S. Source
  • Jackie Kennedy's intimate letters with U.K. diplomat go on sale

    Entertainment CTV News
    Letters written by Jackie Kennedy to a British diplomat rejecting his marriage proposal years after the assassination of her husband, U.S. president John F. Kennedy, go under the hammer in London on Wednesday. The correspondence between Kennedy and David Ormsby Gore, Britain's ambassador to the U.S. Source
  • St. Louis services set for April 9 for rock icon Chuck Berry

    Entertainment CTV News
    ST. LOUIS -- Chuck Berry fans will have their chance to pay their respects to the late rock 'n' roll visionary. Berry's family announced in a statement Wednesday that what they called a public "viewing" will be held from 8 a.m. Source
  • Harry Styles announces first solo performance

    Entertainment CTV News
    Harry Styles is set to make his solo debut, over a year since parting ways with his former boy band One Direction. The pop star will appear as a musical guest on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on April 15, the show's guest host for the week, Jimmy Fallon has revealed. Source
  • Family and close friends say goodbye to George Michael

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- Singer George Michael's publicist says his funeral has been held in London. The private funeral ceremony took place Wednesday at Highgate Cemetery in north London. Michael's publicity agency, Connie Filippello Publicity, said in a statement it was attended by family and close friends Source
  • Spider-Man out of Marvel Cinematic Universe after 'Homecoming 2'? [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Now that Spider-Man is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you may want to enjoy his web-slinging antics while you can. At least when it comes to seeing him battle evil alongside Iron Man, Thor and the rest of the Avengers. Source
  • Lamar Odom admits cheating on Khloe Kardashian with multiple women

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Lamar Odom has confirmed he was having multiple affairs while married to Khloe Kardashian. The retired NBA basketball player married the reality TV star in 2009 one month after they met and they split in 2013 amid rumours he had been unfaithful, with one mistress even going public with her story. Source
  • Wife of Allman Brothers co-founder arrested in Florida

    Entertainment CTV News
    SARASOTA, Fla. -- The wife of an Allman Brothers Band founding member is accused of pointing a rifle at members of a rowing team in Florida. Sarasota County Sheriff's officials say 62-year-old Donna Betts was charged Tuesday with 18 counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. Source
  • ACMs round up loyal country audience to boost ratings

    Entertainment CTV News
    NASHVILLE -- As the television industry deals with overall declines in total viewership, organizers behind the Academy of Country Music Awards are focused on keeping the core country music audience coming back each year to watch the genre's biggest stars party in Las Vegas. Source
  • 'The Zookeeper's Wife' review: Jessica Chastain helps tell a riveting true story

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    In German-occupied Poland during the darkest days of the Second World War, a zookeeper and his wife managed to save the lives hundreds of Jewish people, many of whom were detained in the Warsaw Ghetto, by giving them shelter and refuge on the zoo grounds. Source