The hugely popular Loft Story, based on the reality series from France of the same name and shown on Télévision Quatre Saisons, has produced a winner after 63 days of being on air – and surprise, she’s Cree!

“I feel weird,” Stephanie Belanger from Ouje-Bougoumou told the Nation by phone. “We’ve been in the loft for 63 days and it’s hard to realize it’s over. But I did it! Yay!”

The 29-year-old lives in Montreal and thought she was a long shot at best, especially after the TV show called her sister and not her.

“I saw ads on the Internet for it and I thought why not? I sent in my bio and so did my younger sister. They actually contacted my sister to tell her they wanted me.”

She applied for Loft Story in October and they started filming January 29. They wrapped everything up on April 2.

In all, 13 people participated in a series of games and Fear Factor-like eating feats. Guys and gals alternated each week to see who would be kicked out or not.

For her troubles, Belanger, who used to work at the Public Information Office in Montreal, received, amongst other prizes, a trip to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, clothing, jewelry, a DVD player and a leather jacket.

But that’s not all, for winning the inaugural edition of Loft Story; she also received $50,000 cash and a new Ford Focus. She says she will give some of her winnings to the Mira Foundation and Sainte-Justine’s hospital.

One of her tasks on the show included eating jalapeno peppers. “It was crazy, but I went all the way,” she said.

Each week, viewers chose between a male or female contestant on whether they should stay or go. Belanger was on the bubble three times, but each time her personality came though and she was saved for another day.

“I was being myself. That’s what people told me, that I was really human and really sociable. They said it was touching.”

She says she hopes to keep in touch with some of the cast members. “It’s like in everyday life, I didn’t get along with all of them. But I did make good friends with this beautiful Italian girl Elizabetha.”

The sky is the limit in terms of her future. “I’m going to try some acting courses and maybe some interior decoration courses.”

She said one time during a task that pitted herself against another girl, she took the girl to task on how she was isolating herself and spending too much time with her boyfriend. She spoke to her in Cree and because of that, her approval ratings went up.

“Meegwetch if you helped me in any way. It was really, really nice and I appreciate it a lot.”