Pia Wurtzbach opens up about finding her purpose, her mental well-being, and her destination wedding (Hint: three’s a crowd)
This is an excerpt from MEGA’s December 2022 – January 2023 cover story.
In January 2021, during a series of true or false questions in her Instagram stories, the then 31-year-old mental health advocate admitted to having experienced depression. The following year, she gave a more detailed narrative of her harrowing story of depression and anxiety, which she said pushed her to have an eating disorder and to self-harm.
RELATED: Pia Wurtzbach is Now Engaged!
In our interview, she recalls having to wait for a long time before she could finally be free of the burden of hiding her real struggles. “I wasn’t ready to talk about it before that,” she tells us. “I didn’t want to disappoint others. I felt like if I told people, I would change their perception of me, that I wasn’t the strong, determined fighter that everybody was expecting me to be.” She held back until she found the right tools and until she was healed enough to give something back.
“I didn’t want to still be in the healing process and then share it because that would overwhelm me. And if people came up to me for advice, I wouldn’t be able to help them because I was also still trying to go through it. So I waited until I felt like I was ready.”
The whole process, and the act of healing, turned out to be the beginning of a project that has become bigger than herself. Through her experience, she co-founded an initiative called, The Queens, which also has a Facebook community of the same name. Here, everyone can share a wide range of stories, from relationship problems to problems with friends, family, toxic relationships, body image, etc.
The members of the community give advice, and sometimes, the founders, including Wurtzbach, jump in and give their two cents. Members can even ask for advice anonymously.
“Projects like this have given me a new sense of fulfillment and purpose,” she says, as her face undeniably lights up. “I feel like I finally found the thing that I really want to work on, which is mental health—not just on my personal mental health, but I want to get better at this space. I want to learn more. I want to help more people. I want to earn my stripes and be able to talk about it, and be credible enough to speak to a larger audience, to speak on a stage, to speak on a platform. It’s something that I really see myself doing.”
She has also started working with her longtime partner organization, LoveYourself, which focuses on HIV awareness. With her goal in mind, LoveYourself has helped her merge her two advocacies: HIV and mental health awareness. They also helped her mount an online show called, Holding Space, where Wurtzbach serves as host. In the show, she goes around the city and listens to people’s opinions on issues that matter.
“I wanted to be on the ground,” she explains her excitement over the project. “I didn’t want to be at a Zoom meeting, in the comfort of my own home. I want to be able to see you. Tell me your story, and I might be able to pass that lesson on to somebody.”
THREE IS A CROWD
Since December 2019, Wurtzbach has not been alone in her dark moments, a thought that still leaves her speechless. That time, she and now-fiancé Jeremy Jauncey became official as a couple.
“He has helped me so much when it comes to my well-being,” she says, visibly enamored. Early on in their relationship, Wurtzbach decided to put all her cards on the table—the good and bad. “I wasn’t worried that it would drive him away. In fact, he really appreciated my honesty. And I trusted him enough to share something so personal. He was very open about it. It also made me feel like I can share more, that I can be comfortable around him. I don’t have to be a certain way.” After a long pause, she shares, “He sees what other people don’t see. He sees the hurt, the pain, the sadness and the disappointment. Before anybody else can see it, he sees it first. Usually, okay na ako before I step out. He has always been there.”
In April 2022, the Scottish entrepreneur proposed marriage.
The wedding plans are in the works, and the big day might come sometime in the first or second quarter of 2023. But “big” as Pia says, while laughing, might be the wrong word to use. In fact, on their wedding day, in an undisclosed venue outside the Philippines (although, she reveals, Jauncey would like to have a beach wedding), there will only be three people present: the couple and the person who will marry them. Or maybe make that four, if they included the photographer.
“Isn’t that crazy?” Wurtzbach says, laughing again. Quickly, she reiterates that they’re planning to have separate celebrations for family and close friends.
“I would really like an intimate ceremony where it’s just us, and we celebrate our love,” she says, turning serious. “I just don’t want to feel the pressure, or the awkwardness, of having people watch you as you say your vows.”
Growing up, she admits that she was never the type to imagine herself getting married or to plan her wedding dress. “But I do have an idea of how I want to feel,” she explains.
Read more about Pia Wurtzbach’s wedding plans and new initiatives in MEGA’s December 2022 – January 2023 issue, now available on Readly, Magzter, Press Reader and Zinio.
Photography DOOKIE DUCAY
Creative Direction NICOLE ALMERO
Fashion Direction RYUJI SHIOMITSU
Beauty Direction MIA CASTRO
Makeup MICKEY SEE
Hair RENZ PANGILINAN
Production Design KATRISH ARISTOKI
Videography EXCEL PANLAQUE
Video Producer REGINA ACERON
All pieces by LOUIS VUITTON
Shoot Coordination KZ FRANCISCO, MJ ALMERO, and MAE SICAT
Shot on location at PICC
Special thanks to LOUIS VUITTON PHILIPPINES and JEANGER NAVARRO