As the sun set over the marina, Max Williams turned to his girlfriend and, shaking with nerves, asked her to become his wife.
The beautiful moment in St Paul’s Bay, Malta, last Saturday marked yet another highlight in what has been an incredible couple of years for 24-year-old Tamzin Cormican.
I’m just an average girl, with an average job, doing something absolutely outside my comfort zone. I honestly never thought I’d enter a beauty contest.
In Max’s eyes, Tamzin, with her striking long red hair and 1940s’ look, is a natural beauty and he cannot wait to spend the rest of their lives together.
But until recently, Tamzin found it very difficult to like herself.
At 5ft 4in and a size 20, Tamzin, a school receptionist, is classed as morbidly obese.
She spent her childhood thinking of herself as the ‘short, fat, ginger girl’ and fending off hateful comments from bullies about her size.
And, as a teenager, Tamzin became so obsessed with her weight and image at college that she made herself ill through extreme diet and exercise.
But gradually, with the help of an inspirational bunch of girls, she has learned to first accept her figure and then love her curves to the point she is a finalist in the Miss British Beauty Curves Pageant.
In August she has every chance of walking away with the title dedicated to voluptuous figures.
A video she posted online about her journey to beauty queen has been watched more than 6,500 times.
Tamzin, from Baffins, says: ‘I’m just an average girl, with an average job, doing something absolutely outside my comfort zone. I honestly never thought I’d enter a beauty contest.
‘I’ve always been big, even as a child. I’m 5ft 4in and I’m a size 20 so I’m actually classed as morbidly obese.
‘As a chubby child I would get negative comments. I was bullied.
‘It was generic bullying. People would call me fat and there was such a stigma attached to it.
‘As a child it was the worst thing to hear but my coping mechanism was to be the complete opposite of shying away. I was overly-confident. I had loads of friends and the bullies eventually stopped.’
With a love of performing, Tamzin went to college to study musical theatre where things took a turn for the worse.
Tamzin says: ‘Throughout college I had a lot of negativity from teachers.
‘When I left my confidence was at rock bottom. I have always been the life and soul of the party but after college I felt lost because I was made to feel that I couldn’t do it (musical theatre) because of the way I looked.
‘It took a long time to build myself back up and in 2016 I decided I needed to do something. So at 23 I learned to swim. And in 2017 I learned to dance and performed on stage with Neptune Girls.’
Joining Neptune Girls – a Portsmouth dance troupe focused on empowering women – was not easy for Tamzin. She says: ‘At first I held back, knowing that I would be the biggest person there.
‘I didn’t want to be that person who couldn’t dance because they were too big. But I went to my first class and realised no one was looking at anyone else but themselves.
‘And through Neptune Girls I’ve accepted who I am and the way I look isn’t anyone else’s business.
‘Had it not been for Neptune Girls I don’t think I’d be doing something like this [Miss Curves Beauty Pageant] now. I honestly never thought I would enter a beauty pageant. I never thought I would fall into that category.
‘Knowing that I can be in a pageant and still be this size is wonderful and I hope it will be an inspiration to other girls. I want them to know you don’t have to be a certain size to be beautiful.’
Tamzin says she no longer feels like the ‘short fat ginger girl’ any more and is happy with her size.
‘I know I’m not the fittest fatty in the world, but I dance for at least three hours a week, I walk from my home in Baffins to St Edmund’s School every day, I swim, I do plenty of exercise.
‘My issue is food-related, but I’m happy with it. I try to keep as fit as I possibly can.
‘Fortunately, I’m of the generation that just missed all the social media and the pressure that comes with it.
‘I feel so sorry for young people who have these stereotypes pushed on to them today.
‘I say to pupils at school, “There is more of me, but don’t think any less of me”.’
‘I’m often contacted by people who’ve seen me in Neptune Girls and they are doing things because I’ve inspired them. It makes my heart melt.’
Of fiancé Max, 26, Tamzin says, ‘He supports me 100 per cent.
‘He has really seen the shift in me over the past couple of years – from being in a very dark place to being really confident.’
To see a video of Tamzin go to portsmouth.co.uk.
Tamzin Cormican has made it through to the final of Miss British Beauty Curve Pageant 2018.
She will be representing the south coast in the ceremony in Kent in August.
The aim of the pageant is to show the diverse beauty of women in the UK. All entrants are a dress size 14 and above. There is no maximum dress size.
Tamzin must pay a minimum of £227 to enter the competition and is calling on the community for help with sponsorship.
Here she explains why she is taking part.
‘I will be competing against other curvy queens from around the UK and I need the public’s help.
‘It is estimated 1.6m people in the UK have an eating disorder.
‘In a 2016 survey only 20 per cent of UK women said they loved the way they look.
‘That blows my mind.
‘I’m trying to show people it doesn’t matter what you see on social media, what your friends or family think of you, you are a person, you’re not an object.
‘Your waistband does not define your worth.’
Tamzin needs help with her dress, make-up, nails and other costs.
If you would like high-profile sponsorship through the pageant e-mail Tamzin on firstname.lastname@example.org.