A freshly crowned beauty queen plans to use her new-found platform to advocate for sun safety, in a win driven by her father's cancer battle.
Eva Wilson, a former Tauranga Girls' College student, was named the winner of Miss Five Crowns New Zealand beauty pageant on Saturday night. Miss Five Crowns New Zealand is a about bringing women together to encourage confidence and empowerment.
The 21-year-old is studying towards a degree in health science at the University of Auckland and plans to go into health advocacy after graduating.
Wilson said she was motivated to enter the competition to improve her confidence and public speaking skills, with the hope she could help others through her work in the future.
"If I wasn't very good at public speaking myself, I couldn't expect to be very good at speaking for others."
Wilson said the public platform combined with her studies in health science meant she felt she had the skills and knowledge to make a difference.
"Once I joined and realised that I could combine those things immediately ... that's what motivated me to strive to take home first place so I could promote that cause."
After a series of preliminary competitions, the final event was held at the weekend at the Mercury Theatre in Auckland's CBD.
As well as taking to the catwalk for a fashion show, the contestants were interviewed by the judges.
The winner was determined by their answer to the final question.
"My final night question was, 'If I were to win the Miss Five Crowns New Zealand, how would I use the title to help my community?'"
Her response was heartfelt and close to home.
"My answer for that one was I'd like to use my title this year advocating for sun safety, as my dad suffers from skin cancer."
After winning the prize on Saturday night, she spent Sunday juggling her pageant duties and studying for an exam on Monday.
While it could be a challenge to balance study and pageant preparation, Wilson said it was a matter of getting organised early.
Wilson will now represent New Zealand at an international pageant next year, once she has completed her exams.
Grant Wilson said his daughter was proof women could have beauty and brains.
"She's just a local girl from a normal family, but I'm very proud."