Tittering nervously, the girls patted down their hair and inspected their flawless make-up for one last time.
It was just moments before the 20 women - the finalists of The New Paper New Face competition - were officially revealed to the public.
"I just kept telling myself not to sneeze, trip or fall," said Katie Kang, 23, who is studying psychology.
"I didn't want to scrunch up my face at an inopportune time and give a constipated smile for the first big reveal," she explained with a laugh.
Katie and her 19 counterparts appeared at Orchard Central yesterday afternoon for Singapore Press Holdings' Great Singapore Sale Grand Draw.
As they stepped out onto the stage, the audience clapped and took the opportunity to snap pictures of the beauties.
Of the 20, one will eventually be crowned winner of The New Paper New Face - sponsored by Subaru MotorImage and co-sponsored by Levi's and Clinique - this October.
In its 20th anniversary, the competition has produced notable alumni like models Vivien Ong and Nargis Musawwir and actresses Dawn Yeoh, Julie Tan and Jayley Woo.
The finalists also gamely took part in a mini-game where they had to hit a paper ball into a Subaru car using a tennis racquet, a badminton racquet or a ping-pong bat.
Many missed the target - they hit the ball too hard and it sailed over the roof of the car.
One contestant, Charmaine Miranda, was more unorthodox, eschewing the use of the bats in favour of her bare hands - but she still missed the target, to the laughter of the guests and audience.
Mr Glenn Tan, 34, a New Face veteran judge and executive director of Tan Chong International, was on site to present the top prize of a Subaru Forester 2.0X to the Grand Draw winner Mr Quek Yam Cheng.
Observing the girls, Mr Tan said: "Each batch of girls gets more interesting and I think the competition this year is much tougher."
This article was first published in The New Paper.