Pair vying for model and designer titles
An impulsive move can change the course of your life. Tara Burchall tested this theory when, with a simple click of the mouse, she entered the Face of the World international modelling competition.
Looking for new direction, the former teacher prayed for guidance.
“I asked God to give me ideas. Can you help me to live a better life and place me in a position to better help the people I love? she said.
“I saw this ad for the Face of the World and the deadline was on that day.”
She submitted her photographs immediately.
“When I pressed enter, I completely forgot about it. I just went back to work and life went on,” Ms Burchall said.
She has now been chosen as a finalist and is hoping to travel to Birmingham, England, for the event on September 17.
“[The e-mail] said I was a strong contender for the competition. It was very surreal. Do they mean me? Because I'm 42, I'm voluptuous, I'm plus-size,” she laughed.
“To my understanding, there were thousands of people that entered.”
She said the competition would also allow her to represent Bermuda.
The challenge includes wearing clothes by a local designer. Dean Williams was her first choice.
“Something struck more of an emotional chord, so I chose Dean,” she said.
The pair met several years ago and Mr Williams, 52, was flattered to be “sought out” for this competition.
“I was on board. I was excited,” he said. “The designer has complete autonomy and ideally I'd like something that reflects her personality, her character and maybe has a hint of the uniqueness of Bermuda as well.”
He operates under the label Definitions by Deane and describes his design style as “eclectic” and “for a mature woman who also has a little bit of an edge”. He defines “mature” as “anything from 18 to 60”.
“It depends on the personality and the character,” he added.
“Ultimately, it's about timeless wardrobe building as opposed to fads.”
He has been making clothes for 30 years, professionally. As a teenager, he “begged” his mother Velda Darrell to show him how to operate a sewing machine.
“It's an innate talent,” he said.
Ms Burchall added: “Because I'm a finalist he is automatically entered in the competition for designer of the year.”
The pair are now working towards sponsorship to compete for the dual titles of Face of the World and Face of the World Designer of the Year.
“Like any pageant, you need to cover your own costs,” Ms Burchall said, estimating a total of $12,000.
“We've approximated it to be that with hotel, airfare and everything that comes with it.”
The educator said the e-mail of acceptance came at the perfect moment.
“When one door closes another opens,” she said. “I change my hair as often as I change my nail polish. I love change. This journey is so exciting.
“Whether I win or not, the experience alone is gratifying.”
She has never modelled before, saying: “That's the funny part — people think that I have.
“When I was younger, embracing any form of work centred on my looks seemed shallow and vain, therefore I avoided it as much as possible.
“I was always told I was beautiful but I secretly resented it.
“I wanted people to take me seriously. I went to school and graduated on the dean's list to show people that Tara has a brain.
“I'm going into this arena with pure intentions — not seeking personal glorification nor social recognition, but rather the chance to finally help the people I love to overcome financial hardships.
“I'm not excited about the competition for myself, truly. I'm excited that I'm on the path to be used for God's work.
“I promise in this new journey to stay humble, kind, and represent my country with class as well as honour my parents to the best of my ability.
“However, I'd be lying if I omitted that I am privately proud of the fact that at 42, curvaceous and plus-size, I was chosen over thousands of younger and skinnier professional models.
“In my book, I already won the ‘Beauty at Any Age' or ‘Size Award'.”
Ms Burchall credits her girlfriends Cynthia Millett, Dawni Francis and Michelle Matias for the push.
“Anyone close to me will tell you this is not who I am, but now I see this is who I need to be.”
Mr Williams added: “The idea of added international exposure can't be taken lightly. It's something to look forward to.”
• For more information visit www.faceoftheworld.info. To sponsor Tara and Dean visit http://gofundme.com/2yh23a5g