WHILE the Vodafone Fiji Hibiscus festival is a platform for many young queens to gain exposure, Miss Sinopec Natasha Verma believes the contestants can teach as much as they learn.
The 24-year-old university student, who is pursuing a Masters degree in climate change, is using her participation in the queen's category to advocate for climate change.
She hopes to help as many people as possible find "natural solutions" to the man-made problem.
"We're so vulnerable to climate change in the Pacific but a lot of people still don't know about it so it's an opportunity for me to reach out to everyone in Fiji and the Pacific," Miss Verma said.
"I want to make them aware of what climate change is and what we can do. It's not about big projects or anything, it's about community level things, of what we like to call natural solutions.
"This is basically like planting a mangrove if you live in a coastal area and it will act as wavebreakers, simple things like that."
Miss Verma said the whole festival experience was quite hectic but added it was a good platform for the queen contestants to raise awareness on issues dear to their hearts.
And with the 16 of them spending almost every waking hour together throughout the week-long festival, it was inevitable that the group developed close bonds.
"Everyone is like a sister, on some days we might not have an earring so we can borrow them from somebody.
"Yesterday, for my hula outfit, I borrowed my room-mate's shell necklace so it's like a give and take and everybody is like a sister.
"The main lessons I will take back with me are the grooming ones, how to behave and how to talk."