Images by Noel Pabalate
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For the first time ever, the world’s strongest men and the universe’s most ravishing muses went head to head, as finesse meets physique on Grit and Glam 2018. In a summer-themed night held at The Cove Manila, the Miss Universe organization, featuring Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere, and Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, partnered with the World’s Strongest Man champions Hafthor Bjornsson, Martins Licis, and Robert Oberst. The event is made possible by Frontrow International.
During Grit and Glam 2018’s press conference, president of the Miss Universe Organization Paula Shugart expressed her joy to be able to, once again, launch an event in the Philippines. “Our greatest fan base for Miss Universe is here in the Philippines. We had a fantastic show here for the Miss Universe,” she said. “And when you’ve got a great property like World’s Strongest Man, which is seen all around the world, and being able to promote the Philippines, we know that all of you would roll out the red carpet for them and make everybody feel welcome. It was kind of a no brainer for us deciding to do it here.” She also assured that Grit and Glam will not be the last of its kind. “This is just a start for many years to come, the combination of two properties,” she said.
Grit and Glam 2018 also became a place for the three queens of the universe to reunite. “It’s always a pleasure to be invited by the Miss Universe Organization to attend events like this. I’m very happy to be reunited with the Miss U family,” said Pia. “The Philippines will always be your second home, I hope you all keep coming back and visit me.”
Iris and Demi-Leigh quickly returned the love by telling everyone how they love the Philippines and the Filipinos, and of course, their sheer admiration of Pia.
“Pia is such a timeless beauty to me. She’s always just being herself, staying true to who she is, and she’s just always been so elegant, classy, and stylish,” said Demi-Leigh. “She’s a phenomenal, strong woman. We don’t know each other that well, but I know that she’s an extremely hard worker. I really look up to her.”
“I met Pia more than a year ago. I was really impressed by her beauty but even more by her kindness,” Iris said. “She never has a moment down. She’s always smiling. I love her.”
According to Frontrow International CEO Sam Versoza, Grit and Glam 2018 aims to inspire the young generation to get fit and healthy, to be the best version of themselves. “Grit and Glam is a celebration of health and beauty. Frontrow is all about health and beauty,” he said. “We are very grateful for the opportunity to partner once again with the Miss Universe Organization, to promote the Philippines, to promote health and beauty.”
At the end of the press conference, the queens and strong men exchanged tips on how to achieve their beauty and physical state, or at least live a healthier life. When it was Hafthor Bjornsson’s turn, the man famously known as the Mountain in the hit TV series Game of Thrones said: “Everything is possible when you have your mind to it. Nothing is impossible. If you have a dream, and if you believe you can do something, then you can.”
During the event, the strongest men and the queens of the universe participated in a couple of fun challenges, which required them to showcase what they do best—flexing grit and projecting glamor. For the grit challenge, they had to pass around a dumbbell and drop it to a finish point before the other team does. And for the glam challenge, the queens and the strong men had a show-off and own the catwalk. In the intense battle of strength and beauty, the queens won! It seems like no amount of heavy lifting can outweigh the skills of the universe’s most beautiful women.—Terence Repelente