NEWLY-crowned Miss Hibiscus 2013 Priscilla Reddy is ready to take on the challenges her year-long reign will bring.
Speaking from the comfort of her home in Suva, Ms Reddy, 23, said the shock and joy from Saturday night's crowning had only just begun to sink in.
"With last night (Saturday night), I was in a bit of shock, I didn't really react. It wasn't until I left the cocktail and mum and I went back to the hotel that we just broke down, we were just so happy and so grateful because we worked so hard, it felt amazing" Ms Reddy said in an interview yesterday.
She said her platform message at the festival this year was prevention of animal cruelty, something she says she has always felt strongly about.
"I work for SPCA and we have a lot of projects that we need to do, so I thought if I'm going to be the face of all these projects, I'll need more support so in Hibiscus Festival, that became my platform issue and in the end I got a lot of support for this issue.
"I've always loved animals, even when I was small, we always had pups and I always felt attached to them, I felt a connection and now that I'm older, I've been given this chance to help out at SPCA," she said.
In reminiscing about her childhood love for animals, Ms Reddy said she would often play host to baby toads looking for shelter after a spate of bad weather, something she thought added to her love for animals.
When asked about the prestigious Miss South Pacific Pageant, she said she was looking forward to the challenge.
"I am a bit anxious about the pageant. I wonder what all I have to do, how it's going to work, and I'd like to get started, it's really exciting.
"If I get this chance to do something on a regional level like this, I'll have to really have a look at what needs to be done because this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me so I have to take something across which I feel is very important."