A komodo dragon creation fired Carmel McCormick to success at the New Zealand Body Art Awards judged by Oscar-winning special effects guru Richard Taylor.
McCormick's win on Saturday was her third in the annual competition.
More than 1800 people came to the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland to see 73 of the country's best body artists in action.
Event creative director Mem Bourke said the artists had up to six hours to paint their models in a jungle theme before they were paraded before the judging panel.
The artists were then able to make changes right up to the start of the public showing.
The night was a double success for McCormick, who also placed first-equal in the Hand Painted Body Art section.
In 2007 she won the supreme award by painting two models to look like Lord and Lady Byron.
Bourke said body painting in New Zealand was more popular than ever, with about 350 painters plying their trade around the country.
This year, competitors from South Island and Australia took part for the first time.
The event will be held again in June 2009.