Waterford Rose Kirsten Mate Maher was announced as the winner of the 2018 Rose of Tralee last night, August 21.
In her on stage interview, the 21-year-old multimedia student at Waterford Institute of Technology told Daithí about her Zambian heritage, telling the story of her dad meeting her mother while on holiday in Waterford from the Curragh where he was a soldier.
She explained that she works a number of jobs, including as a personal stylist at the Redlane Boutique in Tramore. She also does some modelling for the store thanks to her attention-grabbing hair.
After 57 roses descended on Tralee for the Rose Tour, the judges narrowed it down to 32 for the television element, and on last night, it was narrowed down to one.
Kirsten Mate Maher was stunned as her name was read aloud by host Dáithí Ó Sé and her fellow roses gathered to congratulate her.
She spoke to presenter James Patrice backstage just moments after her crowning moment where her parents joined her on stage.
Kirsten had been the bookies favourite early on Tuesday morning after her stage appearance on Monday but had been replaced in the betting stakes by the London and Carlow Rose as the announcement loomed.
The 21-year-old had told Dáithí about her Zambian heritage, her love of hockey, her modelling with Redlane Boutique in Tramore and her college work in WIT.
She also made a statement about the attention the colour of her skin had received in the build-up to the final, saying that it was unfair and that we should now see past skin colour and all other subtle differences in a modern Ireland.
Kirsten will now represent Waterford and Ireland on the international stage as she carries out the duties of Rose of Tralee for the next year.