Tia, who is in grade 11, said she did not expect to win the competition and she entered “as a little bit of fun”. She was one of 3,000 competitors, and one of just five selected for the grand final.
She had flown to Bangkok to visit relatives, and decided to try out for the contest while in the capital because the Phuket deadline had passed already.
Tia said she was ready to quit early on in the competition, because it was so tough waking up at around 5am every morning, and then not getting to bed until around 1am. It was her mother that gave her the motivation to continue.
Tia said she would use the prize money to pay for her university studies in Australia. Tia is half South African, half Thai, however identifies more with being Australian-Thai because she grew up there.
As well as taking home the grand prize, Tia also won the Most Popular Media Choice award. She credits this to making friends right from the first day of the competition.
Tia says her experience in the competition was a positive one. She also signed a five year modeling contract with Miss Teen Thailand and hopes to “gain valuable life experiences” from it.