The moment I became a finalist for Miss Flavour 09, I knew it would be the start of something special.

From then on, all I could do was try to imagine what this big night would be like and wait for the months to pass by, until I would finally find out what to expect. I pictured flashing lights, celebrities, top professionals, thumping music and huge cheering crowds. I wasn’t wrong. This was going to be the best night of my life. I told myself no matter what, I’m going to have fun; I’m going to learn from this experience. And, when those cameras are on me I’m going to give those photographers something worth snapping.

I was so excited when I arrived at Cafe de Paris on the big day to get my hair and makeup done. Having no previous modelling experience, this was all new to me but I was prepared. I was very happy with my outfits and although the butterflies wouldn’t leave me I didn’t care. I felt great!

Whilst the amazing stylists were doing their thing I felt like a true model and once I was finally able to see my reflection I was overjoyed. I looked beautiful and felt like a star. Appearance sorted, I then focused on my performance. Should I pout? Should I squint? But in the end, I just decided to be myself and let everything fall into place naturally.

It wasn’t long till I was backstage in my bikini ready to go on for the first round. I could hear the crowd going mad. I knew my friends and family were out there waiting for me to strut my stuff. I took a deep breath. I had no time to think when it came to my turn. Stomach churning, heart racing, I stepped onto the stage and thought “Showtime!”

Walking down the catwalk I no longer felt nervous and in the ‘Strike a Pose’ round, where I had to climb onto of a podium and pose off against another contestant I really showed my personality. I was having such a great time I almost forgot to come off. I smiled at the crowd – I loved their reaction and I was proud of myself for not falling off. After answering my questions from Kojo in the final round I felt exhilarated. The hard part was over.

The results were all that was left, I was anxious. But when Kojo shouted my name as the winner and my supporters nearly knocked me offstage I was overwhelmed with excitement. My dream had come true! I am now Miss Flavour 2009 and I am looking forward to what the year holds in store.

Words by Miss Flavour 2009 Melissa Lewars image above from left to right Miss Flavour 2007: Yondie Murray, Miss Flavour 2009: Melissa Lewars, Miss Flavour 2008: Sasha Shantell Bennett

Click here to see pictures from the event