Meath drama student Sinead Noonan (21) stole the show at the Miss Ireland finals on Friday.
The rank outsider beat off competition from some 37 other beauties to claim the crown as the next national beauty queen.
And the petite Dunboyne brunette, who looked stunning in an electric blue Elliot Chambers gown, revealed how she was something of a late bloomer.
Asked about why her motto was 'there's always light at the end of the tunnel', she said she didn't always steal the limelight.
"As a child, I used to be a little bit chubby. I got picked on a little bit and my mum used to say to me 'you will have your moment some day' -- and I just feel like tonight, here's my moment," she said.
Her previous acting experience obviously stood to her on the night as she claimed that she didn't feel any nerves at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry.
"It's different when you are an actor playing a part but tonight, I had to play myself so it was a little bit different."
Cheering her to victory were her delighted parents Peter and Stephanie, while her long-term boyfriend had yet to hear the good news.
It was a night of glitz and glamour at the northside hotel as a host of well-known faces flocked to to see who would claim the Miss Ireland 2008 crown.
Judges included Amanda Byram, Pamela Flood, Matt di Angelo and Louis Walsh.
Also there were joint hosts, Big Brother star Brian Dowling and musician Myleene Klass, who looked stunning in a white, full-length Kiri dress.
Organised for the first time by nightclub owner Krish Naidoo, proceedings kicked off with a performance by all 38 contestants on stage.
UK popstar Shayne Ward then entertained the 350 guests with two of his best-known songs before the main business of the night got underway.
However, there were some grumblings from some of the VIP attendees, who complained how there was no complimentary wine at the black-tie dinner.
This was despite the tickets selling for a pricey €175 each, with sellers flogging brochures of all the contests for €10 a pop.