Pretty but extraordinarily shy schoolgirl, 12 year old Tamzeng King, has recently delighted her family and friends by making dramatic progress in her battle with the anxiety related condition ‘selective mutism’, through her desire to be a child model.
Children with this challenging disorder are fully capable of speech and understanding language but in certain situations extreme anxiety forces them to remain silent. Tamzeng’s selective mutism was triggered as a toddler when she was approached in a restaurant by someone dressed as a bear and it left her unable to communicate with new people or make friends.
“Tamzeng started to look up in the air if anyone spoke to her. She had no eye contact with anyone and would visibly shake if she came in contact with someone dressed as an animal,” explains Tamzeng’s mother, Nicola King.
“When starting school she would not speak at all. Her first day she had no dinner as she could not say she had her dinner money. This went on for most of her junior school years. She was unable to appear in school plays or interact with others in school. I was always explaining that Tamzeng was very shy when anyone spoke to her as sometimes she appeared rude and this was very stressful. Her school work was fine but she would never go out and did not have any friends, except one girl from school.”
Things began to turn around for Tamzeng when she expressed the desire to become a model to her mother after watching a beauty pageant on television.
“I couldn’t believe it. She was so quiet, I couldn’t imagine her on stage,” says Nicola.
Tamzeng entered Miss English Diamonds in September 2010 and won crowns and sashes for both Miss Photogenic and Miss Model. Shortly afterwards she became The Face of Photo Vista Beauty 2011 and won first place in a Miss Cinderella Wales heat. She also signed a contract with leading UK agency Talent Management and has been photographed by Charley Murrell, amongst other photographers.
“I feel that modelling has given Tamzeng confidence and helped her overcome her problems,” Nicola explains.
“In the past 12 months her confidence excelled and through this she now has so many friends and is out playing all the time, she doesn’t talk much about her modelling to her friends, but she talks and talks! I spoke to a neighbour last week who read her story in the paper and they could not believe what she is doing. Only 12 months ago she could not talk to her. She is a different girl now, it’s fantastic. We’re so proud of her. It’s amazing – child modelling has given Tamzeng a new lease of life.”