She has just been crowned The New Paper's New Face of 2014, but 15-year-old Diya Prabhakar says she is anything but glamorous in school.
The shy 1.82m tall girl showed me a picture of herself in school uniform that she has on her phone. It shows a geeky girl, far from the sashaying beauty hundreds saw last Thursday night.
Diya was horrified when asked for a copy of the photo. "No!" the Tampines Secondary School student squealed.
TNP met up with her on the first weekend after her big win to see how life has changed.
Diya said she was not one of the popular girls in school, but her title had changed all that.
After her win was announced during assembly on Friday morning, many schoolmates started talking to her.
"Some even started joking with me saying they want 10 per cent of my winnings," said the teenager, with a grin.
It was hard to reconcile the confident model with the goofy, down-to-earth schoolgirl. "I'm actually a very lazy dresser," she said.
When asked to apply make-up for this shoot, she ran into her mother's room to grab some cosmetics.
It was obvious that her family is close-knit. Her father, Mr Annamalai Prabhakar, a 48-year-old restaurateur, ferried her to and from rehearsals.
Now that the contest is over, the family can spend time together on the weekends again, he said. They usually have meals together or spend time together at home.
This weekend, lunch was a spread of fusion dishes from one of Mr Prabhakar's restaurants in Siglap. As soon as the last dish was eaten, Diya asked for ice cream.
"She's been wanting ice cream throughout the whole New Face journey," said mum Asha Prabhakar, a 46-year-old housewife, with a laugh.
Diya had to give up another favourite - potato chips.
Family time ended with a stroll at nearby East Coast Park before the teen, who lives in a Tampines condo, scooted off to Changi Airport to meet her best friends to revise. They are taking their O levels this year.
Terminal 3 is one of their favourite haunts to revise. They even have their secret spot where it is quiet.
"We can't function without each other but if all our forces combine, we can't stop talking" said one of the foursome, 16-year-old Nabilah Yeo.
This maybe her O-level year but Diya was happy to have taken part in New Face.
She said: "I'm beyond excited to win. It's still so surreal. It's truly an honour to win this prestigious competition."
This article was first published on Oct 06, 2014.
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