FORMER Hibiscus queen Lenora Qereqeretabua's trademark buiniga raked in $12,000 during the Project Bula Mai Fiji Style 2012 charity fashion show at the Sheraton Fiji Resort over the weekend.
In a spur of the moment decision, Ms Qereqeretabua offered to shave off her much admired afro for $10,000, the gesture made in the spirit of raising funds for the upgrade of the Nadi Hospital.
Guests at the event managed to collect the required $10,000 but in an interesting twist, two corporate bodies went one further and bid $12,000 for the Kadavu woman to keep her afro crown.
Ms Qereqeretabua said she was nervous but humbled and surprised by all the attention.
"It was a spur of the moment decision," she said.
"Inwardly I was going, 'Oh karaik, see what happens when you open your big mouth?'
"I was mentally checking my schedule for any Emcee jobs or on-camera work I would have to appear for in December and January.
"But I was very happy for Project Bula Mai, very grateful to Vinod Patel and SCA Australasia for the generous donation of $12, 000.
"I'm very surprised, very flattered, but all credit to the companies who gave so generously.
"I must stress that at the end of the day, my hair would have just grown back again."
Ms Qereqeretabua further said raising money for Nadi Hospital was special as she had some cherished memories of the hospital.
"I grew up in Nadi, my parents both worked in Nadi and my brother and I went to Namaka Public and Swami Vivekananda College."
"My mum was sister-in-charge at the Nadi Health Centre for many years and as children we were always hanging around the hospital and the health centre.
"I just thought I could help a little bit more with the fundraising to make sure my tauvu in Nadi and the surrounding area have a good hospital," she added.
Meanwhile, Project Bula Mai committee member Zelda Thomas said $128,000 was raised during the show, surpassing their target of $100,000.
Ms Thomas said committee members were yet to audit ticket sales which was estimated to be around $50,000.