Being tall and skinny may have made her unpopular oppie skool, but it’s those exact traits that have turned Tarryn-Kim Cornelius into a beauty queen of note.
The part-time student is now getting her hands dirty as she vies for a spot in the finals of the prestigious Miss Earth SA competition against 69 other down-to-earth beauties.
“I used to be made fun of at school because I was the tallest and thinnest girl in my class.
“I am 1.78 meters tall, and I was always forced to stand in the back row for class photos because I was too tall,” she explains.
Tarryn twice previously entered Miss South Africa and landed a spot in the top 12 in 2012, and then in the top 24 in 2015.
But the 26-year-old Kraaifontein meisie with the groen vingers, who is a second-year project management student at Boston College in Cape Town, is not just a pretty face.
Tarryn is determined to make a real change in the sustainability of the environment.
“Not only do I want to reach out to people, but I have a desire to make a difference and be the difference in our world,” she says.
She recycles at home and is also very friendly with her plantjies.
“Yes, I do talk to our plants — apparently it’s healthy,” she laughs.
“I have a plant in our house called Jeremy, he has been a part of our family for six years.
“When he’s unhappy his leaves will go down, and when his leaves are up, he’s a happy chappy.”
Tarryn is one of four semifinalists from Cape Town, among the 70 countrywide.
Miss Earth SA is put through six months of practical work, before the top 16 contestants will be selected at a gala event in August.
The finals will be held in September, where Miss Earth SA and her three princesses – Miss Water, Miss Fire and Miss Air – will be chosen.
The winner gets to compete for Miss Earth International in November.
Operations manager for Miss Earth SA, Georgina Cost, says this is a pageant with a difference where finalists are scored for physical work, and being ambassadors for Mother Nature.
“We put them on a six-month trial where they are given a task to promote campaigns such as the ‘Waste Stops With Me’ campaign.
“Miss Earth needs to be environmentally-savvy.”