You would think that a pageant filled with beautiful girls contending for the title of The New Paper New Face 2013 would be akin to different lion prides ready to thrash it out with one another.
Instead, it was the opposite. You could even say the girls were fast becoming BFFs - Best Friends Forever. The camaraderie between this year's contestants was heartwarming and we experienced it firsthand during The New Paper's revamp trade launch at Bacchanalia restaurant on Wednesday.
"Everyone is doing really well. We're all friends, and we're just having fun in the competition," said Maya Tan, 19, an accounting and finance undergraduate at MDIS.
Humaira Masjol, 20, an interior design student at the LaSalle College of Arts, shared her fellow contestant's sentiments.
"Everyone is good, and they all have a fair chance of winning."
Seventeen of the 20 participating girls were present at the launch to mingle with and take photos with the guests.
It has been three months since the girls started their The New Face 2013 journey and it has been filled with many lessons for the hopefuls.
"I learnt a lot of new things, like how to take photos and how to do the catwalk," shared 16-year-old Noelle Woon, who is of African-Chinese descent and studying at CHIJ St Theresa's Convent.
"It's humbling because (the industry professionals) really know how to drill you (to ensure you put out your very best)."
The competition has opened doors for National University of Singapore psychology student Jade Rasif. "Now I get (modelling and sponsorship) offers because of the exposure," said the 19-year-old. But it's not all fun.
For Ji Won Heo, 17, an International Baccalaureate student from Chatsworth International School Singapore, there was a point where things got a little anxious. "(The New Paper's 25th anniversary celebrations on July 26 ) was the first time we were introduced to the public so I felt like there were expectations to live up to, and first impressions are always important.
"But when I was there, it turned out to be okay because I was with the other girls."
Voting for Miss Popularity is now open and Asyiha Ams, a 19-year-old business information systems student at Republic Polytechnic, seems to be the favourite. "She's already quite famous (being a blogger and a blogshop model), so I'm sure there'll be support for her," said freelance model Alina Ang, 21.
But Asyiha thinks either Ferlin Leung, 21, or Shazeilla Sariffin, 16, students from SIM and Woodlands Ring Secondary School respectively, will take home the title.
"I think they've got family support. It helps if you have a big family because they will be supportive," she said.
Samantha Tan, 19, from Temasek Polytechnic, thinks that Jade will walk away with the subsidiary title, adding: "She has a very pretty face".