Heather Hamilton, a 22-year-old investment consultant from Hillcrest in KwaZulu Natal, walked away with the Miss South Africa 1999 crown after she dazzled the crowd at the Sun City Superbowl on Saturday.

Her pleasant disposition, poise and broad smile were just some of the traits that convinced the judges she was the fairest of the 26 contestants.

On Sunday, the first day of her reign, she was still grappling with her achievement. In between her hectic schedule, she found time to pour her heart out about winning the title.

"I couldn't believe it and still have to pinch myself every now and then to make sure this is for real," she told The Star.

"I must admit that at the beginning of the evening I was a bit nervous, but after hearing people scream for me, it sort of eased my nerves and I felt more relaxed."

Hamilton is no dumb blonde, and is proof that brains and beauty are a winning combination for any aspirant beauty queen.

"I am looking forward to the year ahead and am thankful for being given the opportunity to represent my country. I would like to make a difference in at least one person's life - nothing would make me more happy," she said.

Hamilton said that during her reign she would like to tackle the issues of unemployment, job creation, family planning, and the preservation of the environment and wildlife.

The Western Cape's Nadia Wyngaard was crowned first princess and Gauteng's Pulane Moraladi was the second princess.