PEOPLE who know Julie-Ann Mock know her only as a tomboy — one who wears shorts and T-shirts, boots or flip flops, always has her hair tied up in a bun with no trace of make-up on her face.
Looking at her now, the shy 23-year-old Labasa-born woman is completely transformed in appearance.
And she owes it to this chapter in her life as she competes as a queen contestant in the 2014 Vodafone Hibiscus Festival.
Representing Fuji Xerox Business Centre, the second-year psychology and human resource management student of USP believes being a part of this year's festival will help transform her.
"I grew up with four brothers so their influence on me was pretty strong. I have always been a tomboy, always preferred outdoor sports to any girly things," Ms Mock said.
"But for the past two years I have been pushing myself to compete in the festival. I told myself that before I turn 24 years, I want to be a queen contestant."
Her sponsors have played a pivotal role in her transformation. Although she still prefers her comfortable flat shoes to high heels, she says that slowly, her feminine side is coming out and it just might stick.
"This is completely out of my comfort zone, not just in the way I look but in terms of public speaking and putting myself out there.
"I have been getting a lot of positive feedback from my fellow queens which is good."
Ms Mock and her family moved to Suva in 2007 and she has attended three different schools — Holy Family Secondary, Saint Johns College and Suva Grammar School. She loves reading and watching movies based on true stories.
During the festival, she will be advocating the subject of women and self-defence, an issue she believes strongly in and one which she has experience in, having acquired a black belt in karate.