She had joined the pageant to fulfil "a childhood dream" and yesterday, that dream came true when Miss Kim Min Pei Lam, 22, was crowned the winner of The New Paper New Face 2016.
She won a $10,000 cash prize, along with an exclusive feature in Her World magazine. "I've always done pageants, and The New Paper New Face is one of the biggest ones around, so I'd always wanted to take part in it too," she said.
The undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, also won the Cosmoprof Miss Photogenic title.
Miss Lam said she had suffered a stress fracture on her foot a few weeks ago and was worried it would not heal in time for the finals.
She said she would give her prize money to her parents, who run a business selling forklifts.
The first runner-up was SIM University communications student Shwetaa Rai, 19, while James Cook University undergraduate Sohee Park, 23, was second runner-up.
The 19 finalists were put through three fashion sequences in a show which also included dance performances.
Auditions for the modelling competition, now in its 24th year, began in May.
Ms Tracy Lee, editor of Her World and one of the seven judges, said they were looking for "star quality". Apart from physical appearance, judges also looked for stage presence, charisma and walk.
"Kim had the overall package, and came across as confident and positive," said Ms Lee.
The New Paper editor Dominic Nathan told The Straits Times that the finalists are invited to appear at several events for readers throughout the year, and take part in fashion and editorial photoshoots.
"We want to provide them with a platform to step towards bigger things," he said. "We have New Face alumni who have gone on to big things, such as Vivien Ong who has walked at Paris Fashion Week, Lisah Suhaimi who was a Guess girl, and actress Julie Tan."