MANILA – Former beauty queens Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran took a trip down memory lane on Thursday as they shared their Miss Universe moments during their reigns in 1969 and 1973, respectively.
Both teenagers during the time that they won the pageant, Diaz and Moran recalled how they had the best time of their lives when they were crowned.
“Being Miss Universe is really very surreal especially I just turned 18 [when I joined]. You realize everything is all about you. But at the end of the day, you just have to come down to earth and make yourself a normal person who will mean something to other people,” Diaz said.
Moran, for her part, shared how she had to travel all by herself because the Philippines was under Martial Law at the time.
“That was the only time I was given permission to travel. Even Stella (Araneta) would not accompany me. So I went by myself to a country which was also under martial law, which was Greece. I also traveled to Europe, all over the United States for promotions or for fundraising events. I traveled in most part of South America,” she said.
The two beauty queens were also asked if they have to put their love life on hold during their Miss Universe reign.
“I never crossed the street before I became Miss Universe so there was no such thing as love life. I was 18. That’s my biggest regret. I should have gone for gold. We had free hotel, free food, free clothes,” Diaz said in jest.
Aside from all the activities that kept her busy, Diaz said she also had a chaperone who was with her 24/7 back then.
“We always have a chaperone. She sleeps in a separate bed but in the same room. I lived in Miami during the week and on weekends, they would bring us to New York to shop. We would shop whatever we want to buy because they never allowed us to use the same dress. But no guys,” she said.
Like Diaz, Moran also did not have a relationship at the time as she only met her husband after her Miss Universe stint.
The two had almost similar funny stories after they passed on their crown to their successors.
“You walk down, you wave, you give your speech. And when they announced that the winner was Lebanon, you take the crown and you give it to the girl. I got my crown and gave it to Miss Lebanon. When I was kind of trying to walk back to my place, I almost fell off the stage because the reporters kind of pushed me,” she said, laughing.
Describing it a period of awakening, Diaz continued: “I was looking for the limousine but they took already my limousine for the new girl. They gave me 48 hours to vacate the suite. For a 19-year-old at that time, you will wake up and say, ‘Hey, tapos. Move on.’ Fortunately, I had my family there.”
Moran had a similar tale to tell.
“I was lucky because the pageant was held here when I gave up my crown. Really, after you give up your crown, you are literally pushed over. At least here, somebody is going to make you salo and make alalay,” she said.
Despite this, the two got to keep a replica of their Miss Universe crowns.
"Every make-up artist that comes into my house takes a picture with it. I am keeping it for the others pa who want to take a picture. I think they wish they could put on the swimsuit, the sash, the crown. They are still there," Diaz said.
"I got the original crown but I lost it. During one of my trips while I was Miss Universe, I always have to hand carry it so I put it in a box. Every time I would go through security, I had to explain I was Miss Universe. What I did, I checked it in. When I got it back, it was crushed. It was broken. They made me another one and I still have it in my closet," Moran said.
Overall, Diaz and Moran are grateful for winning Miss Universe because it opened a lot of opportunities for the two of them.
After her reign, Diaz stayed in Europe for a while and became an ambassador of one of her advocacies. She also became an actress when she returned to the Philippines.
As for Moran, she likewise did one movie but she felt that it was not for her so she went back to school and finished her studies. When she graduated, she established a career in the fields of marketing and advertising.
Aside from Diaz and Moran, Pia Wurzbach is the only Filipina to have won the Miss Universe crown for the Philippines.
Wurtzbach is set to crown her successor at the next Miss Universe pageant on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.