Meaghan Waller doesn’t know where she found the gusto to stomp it out so powerfully in the final runway show on Canada’s Next Top Model.

But the competition’s newly crowned winner said the final challenge that propelled her to victory was the most amazing experience of her life.

“It was like a euphoria, with all the lights and cheering,” said Winnipeg’s Waller in the Toronto Fashion District office of her new representation, Elmer Olsen Model Management. “I’m pretty much on cloud nine.”

Last night’s finale began with the three finalists partaking in their last photo shoot — a bold solo cover image for Fashion Magazine. Nikita Kiceluk of Calgary, Alta., appeared to have the upper hand, having been praised earlier for her strong editorial look. And while Waller’s appearance is comparably softer than her competitors, she received largely positive feedback by the creative team on set.

However, it was Edmonton’s Linsay Willier, donning a straight-on smile in her image, who ended up capturing the client’s favour, winning the challenge and securing her spot in the final two.

And despite her past performance, Kiceluk crumbled in front of the judges, who continued to contend a self-deprecating front was holding the hopeful back from exuding the confidence required in the modelling industry.

“She plays it off as though she’s the most confident girl you would meet, but I always think there's something underlying,” said Waller. “You can’t be that confident.”

Instead, the panel selected Waller to join Willier in a final runway showdown that would determine the competition’s winner.

In a runway show for fashion design team The Blonds, the dressed-up duo competed for the attention of the judges, who evaluated them from the audience’s front row.

Willier’s past runway acclaim was maintained during the show, as she marched strong and focused. But Waller wowed the judges with an unexpectedly powerful walk they hadn’t seen from her before.

When the judges were forced to choose between the women who had appeared to perform equally well, tempers took hold and tears streamed. But it was Waller’s perceived international appeal that inched her ahead of Willier, to win the third cycle of the competition.

“I think I ended up winning in the end because I'm a fresh face, I’m new to the industry and something people haven’t seen before,” said Waller. “I’m very versatile and will hopefully be a very good role model.”

With her newfound publicity, Waller said she aims to raise awareness for many causes including cancer research, having had several loved ones affected by the disease.

“I want to make it known that modelling is not just a pretty face in a couple of photo shoots. It’s a lot more than that.”

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