Margaret Annjinbidie joined the Pilbara Girl program because she thought it sounded fun — she never expected to win. The 19th annual program aims to build leadership skills among young First Nations women across the North West. As of this year, over 650 girls have participated in the program. “I feel proud of myself and I feel very happy. I wasn’t expecting that,” Ms Annjinbidie said after her win on the weekend. The Warmajarri and Pinjara 16-year-old from Karratha said she got a lot out of the program. “I definitely made lifelong friends and also my confidence, which is a big thing for me,” she said. “I never saw myself putting myself out there like this.” During the question round of last Friday night’s finals, Ms Annjinbidie said the best thing about the program was overcoming her shyness. “From the first day walking through those doors, so shy and thinking to myself, ‘I can’t do this’. To the last day, standing here right now, in front of all these people, now knowing that I am capable of doing anything I put my mind to,” she said. During her reign as Pilbara Girl 2022, she hopes to encourage other young women to step out of their comfort zone. “I hope to let young women know that it’s OK to get out there and do this — try different things,” she said. “It might not be your interest at the time, but it’s great when you start doing it.” Ms Annjinbidie signed up with her cousin, Tatyana Skeen, who also made it to the finals. “We’re really close and grew up together. Her mum signed her up and asked me if I wanted to do it. So I said yes because we literally do everything together,” she said. “She supports me in every way possible. And if I’m losing track, she’ll get back on track just by being there.” Ms Annjinbidie has big goals for the future. “In the future I would like to be an architect and maybe start my own business to build community homes and youth centre for the future.” The new Pilbara Girl 2022 will continue to be mentor for young women in her region until the next program in 2023.