Even her grandmother, Madam Sylvia Koh, 60, was stunned when Noelle Woon's name was called out, crowning her The New Paper New Face 2013.
"It's not that she didn't deserve to win, but it was such stiff competition," said Madam Koh.
Grandma was all smiles when we approached her after Noelle's win. She told TNPS proudly: "She did what she set out to do."
After the unexpected win, Noelle's party settled at a cafe for celebratory drinks. Her classmates from CHIJ St Theresa's Convent joined the family for a quick bite.
Deenisha Lin Chien, 16, declared proudly of her friend: "She deserves it."
Her friends see Noelle, a 1.77m-tall beauty with African- Chinese heritage, as outgoing and very down-to-earth.
They cooed over how she had strutted down the catwalk, especially since Noelle was, according to them, rather accident-prone.
And now Noelle may well be on her way to becoming a full-fledged model - she wants to try for a modelling agency in New York after her O Levels.
When asked how she would celebrate her win, Noelle, who was happily tucking into bread and butter pudding with her friends, declared gleefully that she would be treating herself to an entire tub of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.
Noelle's mum, Madam Sarah Woon, 37, said she couldn't recall what happened when Noelle's name was called out as she was screaming for joy.
But over drinks, she was glowing with pride as she heaped praises on her daughter.
Earlier that day, Noelle had called her up in tears because the stylists wanted her to keep her afro hairstyle for the competition, said Madam Woon.