YOU VE SEEN THE LAST OF MISS WILSON.
In true Preview fashion, we’re giving Georgina Wilson a stylish send-off: Step into her bridal boudoir and bachelorette.
tTHE NEWS THE WHIRLWIND
then share it with people after.”
One-half of “we” is Arthur Burnand, a 33-year-old Englishman who works at the diversified conglomerate Swire Group. He is stationed in Asia, handling Swire’s businesses out of Hong Kong and Shanghai, and is someone whom George had known even long before their whirlwind had begun.
“I’ve known Arthur for eight years, but he has always been second family. Our respective families in England have been friends for the longest time. I met him initially at a friend’s wedding in Bangkok and we were even supposed to be set up back then, but I was in a relationship at that time,” she reveals.
Arthur made his move by sending a friend request and a ton of messages on Facebook, but those virtual hellos were buried deep along with other friend requests and messages in Georgina’s account. As time passed, Georgina’s own trajectory took her from upstart model to in-demand international host and endorser. Arthur was gaining ground himself—first as a straight-out-of-university trainee for the said conglomerate and now as a portfolio manager.
And as fate would have it, the two were reunited early last year. “I went on a holiday trip to Australia to visit my godfather and friends and he was there. When I was with him, I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is the guy I am going to marry!’” Magic.
Georgina stuck to her intuition and felt that things were right. “He was completely oblivious, but my getting to that realization felt like a physical reaction. A panic attack! He had no idea,” she laughs, kinikilig over her own anecdote.
Arthur did not waste any time pursuing Georgina. In one of their trips to Winchester, Arthur’s hometown, Georgina was to receive an offer she could not refuse. “He took me out for a walk on the same path he’s walked a million times before with his dad or by himself. He was telling me about how much he loves me and how we wants to spend the rest of his life with me. He would always say that—and there I was, just taking selfies with cows the whole time!
“We continued walking until we got to a bridge. I was looking at swans and was taking photos of them, but when I turned around, he was on one knee, crying. I couldn’t stop laughing hysterically! I was so oblivious about how it all happened.
“He stopped crying when he saw me laughing. He then said, ‘Please give me an answer.’ I said yes, of course!” his is Georgina Wilson, quintessential Preview girl and perpetual Queen Bee reference, at her most vulnerable. She is reclined in bed, burrito-ed in crisp white sheets, and clad only in standard-issue hotel suite terry cloth on this particular evening. It is a Sunday and she had asked to be interviewed a little after 9 p.m.—the only downtime she could afford after spending an entire day posing before the camera. She is accustomed to the long hours a fashion editorial entails, but her travels—you’ll know where she is in the world care of Snapchat—have taken their toll. But her to-do list isn’t all crossed out just yet. Building up at the living area of the suite is a celebration—a Ladurée macaronand-prosecco fête at the Peninsula Suite of The Peninsula Manila estimated to end at 2 a.m. the next day. But right now, Georgina is too caught up with the desire to nap (“Just 10 minutes?” she begged earlier) and get this interview over and done with.
Thankfully, whatever energy she has regained from her short break pierces through. Not only is Georgina upright at this point; she is smiling—and not just with her eyes like art directors or photographers usually ask from her. And her speaking voice, that unmistakable sexy, low register, is peppered with a few lilts here and there. It is unlike the way we hear her usually talk: either with authority when asked to name the things she finds cool or with sharpness while sending top model wannabes out of competition.
Surely, something’s up—and for the first time, she is allowing anyone aside from close friends and kin in on the news. The aforementioned celebration is actually organized in Georgina’s honor—her own bachelorette party hosted by Raymond Gutierrez and attended by her equally gorgeous friends. Sister Jess Wilson, cousin Martine Cajucom, designer Boom Sason and Sunnies Studios partner Bea Soriano-Dee were among the first to arrive. Less than an hour later, the rest of her famous friends, including Anne Curtis, Solenn Heussaff and cousin Isabelle Daza, join in on the fun. Surprise! Our cover girl is getting married and rather quickly. Georgina is set to fly to the United Kingdom for the ceremony at the end of April and wed exactly the time this issue is released.
But any formal announcement about the wedding or the engagement was never made through the usual channels or even on social media—something Georgina admits to be her own doing.
“I wanted to keep things private after sharing my previous relationships with other people for more than a decade,” the brideto-be explains, referring to her very public relationships with actor Richard Gutierrez back in 2005 and scion Borgy Manotoc more recently. She adds, “But it’s not like a crazy secret—I just wasn’t sharing the news, and when people found out, it was cool with me.”
Furthermore, she admits that the buzz generated by the relationship updates of her friends served as the perfect blanket for her own private matters. In 2015, her friend Bea Soriano and longtime beau Eric Dee tied the knot in January, while Solenn Heussaff went public with her engagement to boyfriend Nico Bolzico in this magazine a month after. Late last year, Belle announced her engagement to Adrien Semblat. The whole time such engagements and weddings were in the news was when major developments were unfolding in Georgina’s personal life.
Georgina thought herself the anti-bride growing up and admits to being the girl who wanted to achieve more career-wise before settling down. Moreover, she possesses a take-charge attitude when it comes to the things she wants, be it the choice of hair and makeup for a shoot or the kind of work she wants to add to her resumé. Fashion insiders—this magazine’s staff, included—know about her work ethic and demands so well. And so it comes as a shock to learn that Arthur and Georgina are hands-on in preparing for their wedding at the end of April, in a DIY kind of way.
“It’s so funny how we’re both planning it and we’re super involved. Because we don’t have a planner, each task is so special. Everybody in the bridal party is helping us with so much stuff. For example, when I see the lights at the venue, I can say, ‘My cousin did that.’ Liz [Uy] is arranging the videographer, the bridal dresses are being handled by Martine, another cousin fixes the floral arrangements. When I get to see everything together, I don’t know how I will not cry the whole time because everything is special! Everything has meaning and is not contrived.”
The wedding will be celebrated in a traditional English manner. On Friday evening, the Diazes and Wilsons are organizing a “We got engaged really quickly,” Georgina admits. “That explains the secrecy, too. I didn’t want to have to explain things and hurt people’s feelings in the process. I wanted it to happen naturally and
despedida de soltera dinner. The wedding rites will be held on Saturday at the parish in Arthur’s hometown. The church will be decorated by the friends of Georgina’s future mother-in-law, and the officiating priest is the same one Arthur had been a sacristan for growing up. Sunday is reserved for pub lunch. Georgina estimates everyone to be hungover from Saturday, for which the next day’s menu is “everything fried, Yorkshire pudding, the works!”
Georgina is wearing a custom Monique Lhuillier when she walks down the aisle, a gift from Vicki Belo that is being finished in the designer’s atelier in Los Angeles as of this writing. On Friday evening, she will wear a Marchesa dress, and for Sunday, another Monique Lhuillier. She has also been receiving dresses as gifts, including an Altuzarra and a few pieces from her Australiabased friends. “I literally need four more days to be able to wear everything,” she says.
She is still contemplating on shoes. “I still might buy additional pairs, but I am planning to wear single-strap Miu Mius with all my dresses. But we’ll see about that.” Liz is helping her select jewelry to go with her wedding weekend looks.
Arthur and his 15 groomsmen are wearing traditional morning coats, which are very typical of their boarding-school dress code, but it is the bridal entourage’s outfits that will prove to be the perfect accent to the affair.
“Because we’re having a traditional English wedding, the girls in the entourage aren’t walking down the aisle. I’d like for everyone to be in neutrals—white, cream, beige. I actually wanted—and I’m not sure who will follow this—the girls in ’90s-style slip dresses, like Kate Moss in Calvin Klein. Let’s just say my bridesmaids have a mind of their own so bahala na sila.”
Flying in for the wedding are Georgina’s sister and maid of honor Jess; cousins Belle, Ava and Martine; friends Bea, Anne, Solenn and Liz; Georgina’s childhood best friend Tasha; and two of her best friends from London.
The guest list is a bit of work, with the couple managing their best to bring the number down to an optimal figure. Georgina says they are capping it at 200 max—and that’s already being cutthroat. She expects a lot of comedy to go down on her wedding day, largely because of the mix of English and Filipino cultures from within the said list.
“Filipinos don’t RSVP and switch seats on the day of the event. That’s not culturally rude for us, whereas the English find that offensive. But I’ve briefed Arthur. I’ve switched my name around at weddings in the past and yes, I’m half-English and half-Filipino!” she laughs. Yes, she is letting some things go.
It’s true what power love holds: Even women with cool-as-ice exteriors like Georgina now talk passionately about things that usually spill out of a Valentine greeting card.
“I don’t have a long engagement and I am happy with that. I just want to get married to him already. I feel like I’ve been waiting for so long to get married to him. Super tama ang nararamdaman ko,” she confesses.
She adds, “It’s just weird how all of a sudden I became this person who is all cheesy and says, ‘When it’s right, you just know.’ But oh my god, what they say is right!”
And she has been doing her share in making the relationship work—geography and frequent flyer miles be damned. She flies out to Hong Kong or Shanghai during the workweek so they could see each other. It’s a lot of sacrifice for the both of them—she has Sunnies and her endorsements, he has his work—but they are both professionally driven and happy with the work that they do. “And that’s why this relationship feels right—our logistics are surely not sustainable forever, but it has come to a point where we don’t even need to discuss it because we respect what each other does. There is a sense of comfort knowing that we are both motivated in the same way.”
She saw a change in herself, too, especially when she began to reassess her priorities. “Before, I was such a workaholic, but when he came in, he became my priority. I’m not going to work during the weekend—wherever I am in the world—and spend it with him. The travel is exhausting, but there is that effort. With him, I find balance.”
But Georgina being Georgina, she’s not about to let go of her standards where her place in the relationship, or the world for that matter, is involved. “I’m happy when I’m with him, but also happy when I’m not with him,” she asserts. “I’m happy when I’m doing my own thing because he is supportive and empowering. It’s a relationship that allows us to grow together without losing ourselves.
“I don’t want to be known just as somebody’s wife and changing what needs to be changed in people’s perception. Outside the Philippines, people can do what they want after getting married, whereas locally, people box them up and say, ‘ O, you’re married na.’ I don’t feel that way going into this relationship.” She adds, “Yes, I’ve matured in a certain way, but it doesn’t mean that all my other interests are different. I think that’s something I am also debunking to myself. I thought when I get married, I’ll be old and super mature, like, ‘Oh my god, that’s the rest of your life; you’re set!’ I almost feared that.”
She once thought that getting married was the symbol of the end of fun, but sees the future otherwise. “It’s gonna be so much more fun, because I have a partner. I cannot wait to see the world with him and meet our children.”
By this time, Georgina’s bachelorette guests are complete. Their laughter can now be heard in the corridors of the suite as if a signal for the woman of the hour to emerge from her frustrated nap. We give her time to dress up, but not before asking what she would tell the Georgina who hasn’t met Arthur yet.
“I can tell her a lot about being in this position. I thought then that turning 30 was super scary, but now I am the happiest that I’ve ever been. It’s interesting what you fear when you are younger. You’ll find out how crazy you are for fearing such things.”
And in a moment of wisdom, she walks off to her celebration saying, “It works because I completed myself first. That is important to him, too. He is a complete person on his own. That’s why what we have feels so right.”
TRUE It’s what LOVE power holds: even women with cool-as-ice exteriors like GEORGINA now talk passionately about things that usually spill out VALENTINE of a greeting card.