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

  • Shania Twain apologizes after saying she would have voted for Trump

    Entertainment CTV News
    Canadian singer Shania Twain is apologizing after telling a British newspaper that, had she been American, she would have voted for U.S. President Donald Trump. Twain told The Guardian that even though Trump was “offensive” he “seemed honest. Source
  • Cosby defence team lobs attacks in court of public opinion

    Entertainment CTV News
    NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Jurors weren't allowed to hear testimony that Bill Cosby's chief accuser was once hooked on hallucinogenic mushrooms or had her sights set on becoming a millionaire, but that hasn't stopped the defence from airing the explosive claims about Andrea Constand in the court of public opinion. Source
  • Poster for Elvis North Carolina show sells for over US$42,000

    Entertainment CTV News
    RALEIGH, N.C. -- A rare vintage poster for a 1955 Elvis Presley show in North Carolina has sold at auction for more than double the expected price. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the poster for a show on May 19, 1955, in Raleigh sold this month for US$42,500. Source
  • Avicii death a coming-of-age in electronic music boom

    Entertainment CTV News
    Rock 'n' roll had Buddy Holly, the psychedelic era had Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and grunge had Kurt Cobain. Now electronic dance music has Avicii. The Swedish DJ's death Friday at age 28 marks a symbolic coming-of-age for a genre that remains resolutely youthful, with the first electronic superstar to die near his prime. Source
  • Shaggy, Shawn Mendes, Sting among those who celebrated Queen's birthday

    Entertainment CBC News
    The audience at Royal Albert Hall got a rare treat Saturday — the chance to sing Happy Birthday to the longest reigning monarch in British history. Queen Elizabeth II, with her eldest son Prince Charles at her side, waved to the crowd as they celebrated her 92nd birthday in song. Source
  • Box office battle comes down to 'A Quiet Place' versus 'Rampage' again

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- "A Quiet Place" and "Rampage" are fighting it out again for the top spot at the domestic box office this weekend and easily beating newcomers like Amy Schumer's "I Feel Pretty" and "Super Troopers 2. Source
  • 'A Quiet Place,' 'Rampage' lead newcomers at box office

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- It's another weekend of buzz versus pure star power at the box office as the word of mouth sensation "A Quiet Place" finds itself neck-and-neck again with Dwayne Johnson's "Rampage." This time buzz had the slight advantage. Source
  • Ellen Degeneres pays tribute to Humboldt Broncos crash victims at Calgary event

    Entertainment CBC News
    Ellen Degeneres began a speaking engagement in Calgary Saturday night by carrying a hockey stick on stage to pay tribute to the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. After kissing it in front of a cheering and packed crowd of about 15,000 people at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the popular talk-show host placed it alongside a number of others standing on a rack in the back corner of the stage. Source
  • Kendrick Lamar's Pulitzer inspires Compton students to 'dream bigger'

    Entertainment CBC News
    Music class has taken on a whole new meaning at a high school that counts superstar — and recent Pulitzer Prize winner — Kendrick Lamar among its alumni. "When I first found out about the award he had won, I actually didn't even know what the award was," Mykail Mcdade,18, told CBC News in Compton, Calif. Source
  • Sustainable design, second-hand clothes: How you can become a conscious fashion shopper

    Entertainment CBC News
    Reduce, Reuse and Rethink is a CBC News series about recycling. We're looking at why our communities are at a turning point and exploring ways to recycle better. You can be part of the conversation by joining our Facebook group. From local, small-scale designers to huge corporations, it seems there is a glut of eco-friendly fashion announcements. Source