June 09, 2014 08:28 PM

If Cassadee Pope, 24, looked especially radiant while picking up her first-ever CMT Award Wednesday (she nabbed Breakthrough Video of the Year for “Wasting All These Tears”), it’s partly because she was so thrilled to accept the award from her Voice mentor Blake Shelton — and partly because she’s got a new skincare routine.

Courtesy Proactiv

The country star (and Voice season 3 champ) is the new face of Proactiv+ — which shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering she’s been loudly proclaiming her love for the brand since way back in 2012. But she says she was a latecomer to the skincare line.

“I never struggled with skin issues until I was in my 20s,” Pope tells PEOPLE. “It always made me feel self conscious. I was afraid to go on stage, especially if I saw video cameras close up on my face — I hated knowing the whole crowd was looking at my skin. That, of course, affected my performance in a negative way and I was less confident on stage.”

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Though she was embarrassed to have fans see her bad skin, she’s not too shy to share her secret now that she’s figured out what works for her. “It’s important to me to let people know that I’ve found a solution to something I’ve always been insecure about,” she tells PEOPLE. “I feel as an artist, there’s always this obligation to come across strong and fearless. But we have insecurities like everyone else. Proactiv started making a difference on my skin as soon as the first day … [Now] I’m more confident on stage and I’m not afraid of cameras close up on my face, [and] I’m not constantly thinking ‘I know they see my pimples’ whenever I meet fans.”

And if landing a major beauty campaign wasn’t proof enough that Pope’s star is majorly on the rise, her success at the CMTs and CMA Fest just adds to the excitement “I’m still in shock about winning my first CMT award,” she tells PEOPLE. “I’m so thankful to the fans and their loyalty since day one. The fact that they believe in me this much just adds fuel to my fire and makes me want to continue to work even harder … to hear the [CMA Fest] crowd singing my lyrics back to me was surreal.”

Are you a fan? What do you think of her first big gig? Tell us below!

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–Alex Apatoff

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