Life is speeding up for newly crowned Gore Country Music Queen Devon Millan.
The mother of two will spend the next week attending events as a part of the nine-day Tussock Country music festival, which includes the Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking competition and the MLT New Zealand Gold Guitar Awards.
The gala crowning of the queen was held on Sunday night.
Being announced the country music queen was an emotional experience for her.
“I felt like crying when they announced my name. I remember the previous winner, Melissa [Wishart], putting the crown on me and saying she felt like crying for me too.
“It’s awesome to think that people believe in me to represent Gore and I’m definitely taking it as a big responsibility.”
She was excited to learn and experience more, Ms Millan said.
“I’ve always loved helping people, so this is the perfect opportunity to do that.”
She remembered attending St Mary’s Primary School and seeing past winners come in to speak at the school.
“At that age it was so inspirational and you look up to them, but today I was sitting there thinking .. wow, that person is me now’.”
“I think all you can really do is be yourself because if you get up there and act as someone else, it is so obvious.
On Monday she spoke to pupils at Mataura School, who asked her a range of questions.
“Some of the girls asked me if I liked sparkly things and what it was like to be a princess and all the classic kid things like what were your dreams growing up?”
She believed the key to winning was being yourself.
“I think all you can really do is be yourself because if you get up there and act as someone else, it is so obvious.”
Ms Millan also won the Miss Congeniality award, which recognises a candidate’s personality.
“That was an honour to win because I knew it was based off my personality.”
She acknowledged the four other candidates.
“I didn’t think I would win because there was so many capable women in the running.
“They were just a great group of ladies to work alongside.”
The competition is open to women aged between 18 and 30.
As Gore Country Music Queen, Ms Millan will attend festival events with the Tamworth Queen of Country Music.
In return she will travel to the Tamworth’s Country Music Festival in January next year as an official representative of the Gore Country Music Club.
Queen competition committee convener Vanessa Small said the standard of entries for this year’s queen competition was very high.
“All of the girls would have been great for the role and it came down to the wire,” Mrs Small said.
“Devon will be outstanding for Gore and we’re really happy to have her.”
Public speaking was one skill the queen should have but she also needed to relate well to people and be a good ambassador for Gore.