Mecia Simone Simson said getting engaged gave her the strength to win 'Britain's Next Top Model'.
The 18-year-old - who triumphed on the fifth series of the Living TV show - expected her rival Sophie Sumner to take home the crown, and places her success squarely at the feet of fiance.
Maybe I'm not Britain's Next Top Model, but I know I'm a good model
She explained: "My confidence had really taken a knock after I did badly in a couple of challenges and photoshoots, so it really helped. I hadn't seen him in months and it gave me such a boost.
"I was sure Sophie would get it. The 10 seconds waiting for my picture to appear seemed like days. I was mortified that I had to stand there and lose in front of the friends and family who'd come to watch the final catwalk show."
Sophie - who was branded bitchy my many of the other contestants, and had called Mecia "dull and uninspiring" - was devastated to be placed second, and went on to defend her behaviour.
She told the MailOnline website: "I've watched a lot of reality TV. I had a sense of the kind of person that stays, and I played that character.
"I figured out early on that it would help me to be the outspoken one and, of course, the producers loved it, constantly telling me how great I was.
"I genuinely think that when I was up to be voted off in the first couple of weeks it was the character I'd been playing for the cameras that helped me scrape through."
Controversial contestant Jade McSorley - who has previously suffered from anorexia - came in third place.
Show judges - including former model Lisa Snowdon and photographer Huggy Ragnarsson - ruled she was not yet ready to enter the image-obsessed fashion world.
Jade said: "I'm glad I didn't win. I didn't want girls to think being my size makes me the best model. All I need is more time to beef up and I'll be there. I know if I want this I have to do something about it. Maybe I'm not Britain's Next Top Model, but I know I'm a good model."
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