Belfast Telegraph

Monday 28 July 2014

She's a sailor and a beauty queen: now Tiffany Brien plans to take on the world of bodybuilding

Tiffany Brien in action modelling

First she was a sailor, then she became a model – but now multi-talented Tiffany Brien faces her biggest challenge as she prepares to enter the world of competitive bodybuilding.

The Holywood beauty was famed for her expertise on a boat before she sailed to victory as Miss Northern Ireland in 2012.

Now the keen athlete is set to face the judges once again – but this time it's her fitness and physique under the spotlight.

But Tiffany vowed she won't be 'bulking up' for the WABBA 2013 All-Ireland Bodybuilding Championships.

Sportswoman Tiffany isn't a stranger to athletic challenges and has been sailing competitively since her early teens.

A future international Olympic hopeful, the world-class sailor has been the Irish number one in the women's laser radial class.

She then took the Miss Northern Ireland tiara to China for Miss World and stunned the competition by finishing inside the top 10 in the bikini body challenge.

The Bodybuilding Championships in Londonderry this weekend will also feature a bikini body category – which rates a feminine beach body look – and that is the section that 23-year-old Tiffany is hoping to win.

Tiffany said: "I am not in any way bigger at all. I haven't changed my weight – in fact I'm actually smaller and leaner and in better shape than I was last year. It is a bodybuilding competition but the competition I'm in you have to be very small.

"I can still go out on a Saturday night and put a size 8 dress on and still look feminine.

"I have had amazing feedback, you always expect negativity when you are putting yourself out there. But I haven't had one negative comment at all and that's out of nearly 20,000 people liking my Facebook page.

"The messages and emails I have been getting saying 'thank you so much for inspiring me'... it's amazing to have so much positivity."

"I've always had an athletic physique and I've always worked very hard at having a good shape."

Tiffany said she won't be following in the traditional footsteps of female bodybuilders, preferring a more toned, healthy and feminine look.

"I don't want to be seen as some crazy gym nut, I am just a normal girl who has a normal job and a normal life.

"I eat healthy, I go to the gym and look and feel nice, and feel good about myself."

Tiffany will be marked on the lean and athletic shape of her body, which has been sculpted as a result of dedicated workouts and a strict diet.

Beefed-up look won't get my Ronseal of approval, writes Frances Burscough

Tiffany Brien, the former Miss Northern Ireland, is a real, genuine beauty. Whether she's appearing on a catwalk or in a sporting event she just radiates good health and wellbeing.

Tiffany never looks overly done-up, fake or false – because she doesn't need to. Her kind of beauty is so real and natural it just looks effortless.

So to hear that she is making a detour from the world of fashion and beauty to appear in a body-building contest – which, apparently, she hopes to win – is something that has come completely out of the blue, to say the least.

The women who appear at these shows usually range from strangely artificial-looking at best to downright freakish in some cases.

I know – I've seen plenty at various showcase events and have never found one who looks even remotely attractive or approachable. Heck, look at Jodie Marsh, the ultimate body-building pin-up and poster-girl for the discipline. With her bulging biceps, veiny torso, pumped-up pecs and thighs you could crack walnuts with, you'd be forgiven for thinking she's part-android.

As for the deep brown perma-tan they all seem to slather on before the shows, finished with a glossy oil top coat, well I can only think of two words to describe the effect: Ronseal Woodstain.

It's not remotely feminine. It certainly isn't pretty either.

So please be careful Tiffany about how far you go to be in with the Ab Crowd – you don't want to end up looking like them.

In my view, female body builders appear weather-beaten, thick-skinned and hard as nails. Exactly what it says on the tin.

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