Growing up in Fordlands, Candace Wilson was all about being outside and playing rugby.
So, fast forward a few years and, Miss Wilson is the first to admit she is more than a little surprised that she is about to represent New Zealand in her first beauty pageant.
The former Rotorua woman, who is now based in Brisbane, will take on women from around the world after being selected to represent her home country at this year's Face of the Globe pageant, held in Paris and London in April.
While a big fashion fan - she works for Tommy Hilfiger - Miss Wilson said she had never contemplated entering a beauty pageant until she was asked to enter this one.
"I'm 5ft 1 (1.55m) from Rotorua. We don't really celebrate beauty like that."
To be in the final group of 100-odd competing after more than 6500 entries was amazing, she said.
"I don't really do pageants, I've never done one before so it's all new to me."
She said growing up she never imagined she would be where she was now.
"I was a butchy girl, I played rugby."
Miss Wilson said she planned to incorporate her Maori heritage into the competition, especially in the talent section - but would not be doing a haka like Miss World New Zealand recently did, causing some outcry.
"I grew up bilingual. It was my everyday life. I've had people email me saying they don't want to see me on TV doing the haka and I've told them I've got this. I know what to do."
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