Kindness, friendship and forgiveness.
Those are the three pieces of friendly advice offered to the 2016 contestants for Miss Universe Canada from somebody who knows adversity.
“Be good to yourselves and good to each other and root for each other,” said Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach Sunday night.
“Get to know each other and support each other and be there when adversity comes,” added Wurtzbach, who spoke at the Metro Movement Dance Studio, on Broadview Ave., where contestants were rehearsing for the upcoming pageant in June.
The pride of the Philippines knows of what she speaks.
She was standing on the stage in front of the world on Dec. 20 in Las Vegas when host Steve Harvey announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierre had won the title.
“I was happy for her,” said Miss Philippines.
There was one problem though. Harvey had messed up.
Moments later, he walked back out on the stage and let the world know just how big a gaffe it was.
Wurtzbach, 26, was standing there not sure what to think when the comedian announced that it was not Miss Colombia who should be wearing the crown. The winner was the young lady born in Germany but raised in the Philippines.
She had her moment stolen from her.
“But I think everything I had been through in my life prepared me for it,” said Wurtzbach.
She grew up in difficult impoverished circumstances as a child. But she persevered and not only made it in modelling but acting, too. She tried out for Miss Universe three times and lost.
The Harvey error made it four times. But lo and behold, even though it wasn’t pretty, it was her turn.
Miss Universe, who is in Toronto until Tuesday, said never once did she feel anger. As photographer Craig Robertson and I found out, her beauty is internal as well as external. She’s all class.
“Steve Harvey came back stage right away and apologized,” she said. “Mistakes happen and I understood that. He felt bad about it.”
That mistake has made her more famous than she ever would have been. She plans to “use it as a platform to help people” and to make the world a better place.
This is what Miss Universe is doing in Toronto today.
She will appear at the Speakers Forum for the International Students of the Language Academy of Canada and at the Toronto Reference Library on Yonge St. where she will deliver an anti-bullying message. She will be joined there by Miss Universe Canada Paola Nunez and former Canadian prime minister John Turner who plans to talk about democracy and diversity.
Then Miss Universe will attend the Toronto Welcome Dinner fundraiser at the Copacabana Brazilian Steakhouse, 230 Adelaide St. W., to support the Sick Kids Foundation.
She will be participating in the ILAC Speakers Forum for the Students of the International Language Academy of Canada.
It is true everywhere she goes thee days cameras follow her around and she’s jetting around the world.
“But the truth is I am still Pia Wurtzbach from the Philippines and that is not going to change,” she added. “As I tell these girls in this year’s competition, it’s about making a difference in the universe.”
And to think for a split second there back on Dec. 20, it almost did not happen.