SOFT-spoken and shy, 15-year-old Catherine Mei Senibua Cheer took part in the General Machinery Sugar Festival Miss Teen contest to overcome her timid nature.
She was never aiming for the main prize, so she was pleasantly surprised when her name was called out on Monday night as winner of the festival's Miss Teen contest.
A day after the crowning, the Fourth Former at Natabua High School was back in class but she made time for an interview at morning break with The Fiji Times.
She said she had quickly settled back into her daily routine. From Kadavu with maternal links in Tailevu, Catherine aspires to be a dietitian and is also a dedicated hockey player.
She represents her school in the open grade hockey team. Her father is a former head boy of Yat Sen Secondary School in Suva while her granduncle grabbed a bronze medal in the first ever South Pacific Games hosted by Fiji in 1963.
"It was definitely a shock for me. I was actually just aiming to be the first runner up," she said.
Mum Theresa Cheer said her daughter was the quietest member of the family.
"She is very shy and very quiet. So when she decided to be part of the pageant we thought it would be a great way for her to overcome her fears," Mrs Cheer said.
She said her daughter also accomplished something she was supposed to do when she was younger.
"I was supposed to be a contestant at the Sugar and Bula festivals after I left high school but I was too scared to do it," Mrs Cheer said.
"But I'm very proud of my daughter because she was able to do it and at the same time win the crown."