As Cycle 5 of Asia’s Next Top Model (AsNTM) drew to a stunning conclusion last week, with Filipina candidate Maureen Wroblewitz taking home the victory, fans are eagerly looking ahead towards the next cycle, wondering what could possibly top the highest rated AsNTM season to date. We can bet there will be an increased Filipina competitiveness in the show, as local models are buoyed by Wroblewitz’ triumph. But could we also hope for a Filipina judge in the next cycles? That is, Miss Universe 2015 herself, Pia Wurtzbach.
“I love working with [AsNTM],” shares Pia, during her cover shoot with Metro Magazine. Although it’s too soon to know for sure what her appearance will be in the next season, Pia’s ready to work more closely with the show as a judge, or maybe even a host. “I am looking forward to it.”
Pia appeared as a guest judge on the first episode, and on the finale, while leaving motivational messages in between. Her appearances in the show, however brief and sporadic, has been a confidence booster for the girls, an uplifting spirit in a cutthroat contest. It is no surprise then that she is a favorite among candidates, not just because of her much needed kindness, but because of a shared experience. Having competed with hundreds of beauty queens in her career, she’s had her fair share of competitions.
“I was compassionate because I was one of those girls before,” says Pia. The memory of her three Bb. Pilipinas attempts before the Miss Universe victory fresh in her mind. “Looking at those judges, I was that one judge who felt like: ‘guys, let’s not be too harsh on them.’ Because this is hard, what they’re going through right now.”
The hardship in that competition went beyond the shoots, the criticism, and arguments, continues Pia, there was also that pestering doubt that constantly loomed in a young model’s mind. It is a constant battle inside, she says. “That little voice in your head, that’s your worst enemy! So, I felt for the girls.”
On the flip side, there’s no evading Pia’s knowing eyes when it comes to girls under pressure. She knows exactly when a girl is serious about the challenge, seeing through all their emotions like a ray. “I see the worry, the sadness, and the insecurity,” she says, keenly aware of how being under a camera could push a girl beyond her limits. “I can sense it, but I can understand where all that is coming from, because they want to win—and I get it.”
Will Pia make a return to the next season of AsNTM? No official word on that yet, but we can all agree that a judge with experience and sympathies in a girl-eat-girl atmosphere is a necessary addition to the table.
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