Tamieka Lupinski is the 2019 Maitland Showgirl.
When her name was called during the sashing ceremony at Maitland Show on Friday night (February 15) she could hardly believe it.
Once the purple winner's sash had fallen on her shoulder, and a bouquet of pink and purple flowers placed in her hands, she gave her first speech in the role.
She told the crowd how much being the showgirl meant to her, and how the self-development movement had forced her to step out of her comfort zone.
Later she told the Mercury she nearly didn't enter the quest because it would force her to step out of her comfort zone.
Winning this is absolutely amazing because I don't believe in myself very much, and this is taught me that I can,she said.
"I'm usually such a shy person when I first meet people, and then I come out of my shell, but doing this and meeting new people has really brought out my confidence and made me feel more self-confident.
Read more:Tamieka enters the 2019 quest
"I'm looking forward to getting to know the community and becoming more involved."
She will be crowned Miss Maitland 2019 at a Maitland council event later this year.
Macia Borowiec, of Abermain, was named runner-up and Jaslyn Waters, formerly of Tenambit, took the third place sash.
There were six entrants in this year's quest.
Each entrant had an interview with a panel of three judges and spoke on stage for five minutes at a gala night.
"They were so supportive, nice and kind which made it a lot more calming for everyone," Ms Lupinski said.
"Being onstage and speaking into a microphone in front of people you don't know is nerve racking, but it has improved my confidence."
Ms Lupinski, 20, of Vacy, said the showgirl movement offered many benefits - including wonderful friendships.
I want to put it out there about what the showgirl movement is about - it's not a beauty pageant at all,she said.
Ms Lupinski grew up on a property in Congewai, near Cessnock, before relocating to Vacy on a property that was more suited to horses.
She is an avid horse rider and works at NRMA branches across the Hunter.
She dreams of running her own equine teaching centre where she can encourage the next generation of young riders.
This story originally appeared on the Maitland Mercury