|Character Profile||List of appearances|
Yasmine "Yazz" Cunningham (née Maalik) is the daughter of Kashif and Misbah Maalik, the sister of Farrah and Imran Maalik, the half-sister of Sami Maalik and Shaq Qureshi, the wife of Tom Cunningham, and the step-mother of Steph Cunningham-Lomax.
2000-2017: Early Life
Yasmine was born in July 2000 to Misbah and Kashif Maalik, the couple's third child. Kashif was framed for embezzlement by James Nightingale and died in prison in January 2013 (with Yasmine initially unaware that he died by suicide). The family was left devastated by his death.
2017: Arrival and Cardiomyopathy
Yasmine arrived in Hollyoaks for her first day at Hollyoaks High School in April 2017. She immediately took an interest in Peri Lomax, asking about her father who had been arrested for several murders a few months prior. However, the pair clashed after Yazz ended up posting a school blog article with the information Peri had confided in her. Peri blackmailed Yazz into deleting the article, and the pair called a truce. Yazz continued to cause trouble by lying to Lily Drinkwell that she had slept with Prince McQueen, when in reality he had rejected her.
Whilst out with Tom Cunningham, Prince, Lily, Peri and Alfie Nightingale, Yazz started to have chest pains and her worried friends rushed her to hospital, with Prince - not being able to drive - crashing the car. Yazz's mother, new Dee Valley University Hospital doctor Misbah Maalik rushed to the hospital and revealed that Yazz was on a transplant list for a new heart. After a misconception between Prince and Lily, Prince and Yazz ended up actually sleeping together and Lily walked in on the pair. Yazz was left devastated when Prince told her that sleeping with her was a mistake, and ended up targeting Lily in revenge.
In an attempt to win the journalism apprenticeship competition, Yazz planned to get a video of Lily's scars and circulate them online. Following her into the bathrooms, Yazz and Peri instead video Lily self-harm in a stall. Peri convinced Yazz to write about Lily's self-harm, but Yazz decided not to turn her paper in and Peri sneakily did so behind her back. Hollyoaks High headteacher Sally St. Claire announced Yazz as the winner, but called Leela Lomax, Misbah, and Lily's aunt Diane Hutchinson for a meeting. Peri and Yazz agreed to keep her secret, but formed a self-harm pact to see what it was like. After being injured when the school exploded in October 2017, Yazz was rushed to hospital and ended up suffering from heart failure. After the brain death of school teacher Neeta Kaur, her heart was deemed suitable for Yazz and the transplant successfully took place.
2018-2019: Targeted by Extremists
In January 2018, the Maalik family were involved in a car accident in a tunnel. With Yazz and her brother Imran trapped in the back seat, Misbah was forced to choose between her children as an out of control lorry approached: choosing Yazz. Several months later, Yazz witnessed Imran pour a cup of hot tea over Misbah and discovered that Imran had been repeatedly acting violently towards her. As the abuse continued and Misbah decided against taking action, Yazz began spiking Imran with Misbah's antidepressants. Imran was hospitalised after falling ill and Yazz's spiking was exposed. An enraged Imran also began hitting Yazz, with Yazz revealing the truth to Misbah a few weeks later. Misbah confronted Imran at school and he confessed to the police, being remanded in a clinic to undergo a residential anger management course.
Yazz and Alfie ended up growing closer and the pair shared a kiss, although Alfie later rejected Yazz. After being hospitalised for schizoaffective disorder, Yazz visited Alfie when he was discharged and the pair began a relationship. Alfie was offered an apprenticeship in Washington, D.C. and Yazz initially decided to join him, but changed her mind after overhearing him talking about his late girlfriend Jade Albright. Alfie left alone in January 2019.
Following the death of Tegan Lomax, her brother Ste Hay (who blamed Misbah for her death) began targeting the Maaliks. After goading Imran into punching him, Ste tried to ruin Peri and Yazz's friendship. After Lily died from sepsis, Peri and Yazz reunited to plan her funeral. Yazz put Peri forward as a bridesmaid for her half-brother Sami's wedding to Sinead Shelby (who shared a daughter, Hannah, with Ste). Jonny Baxter - a member of the far right extremist gang Ste had joined - planned to plant a bomb in The Loft (where Sami and Sinead's stag/hen do was taking place), but the bomb went off in the backyard of 65 Christleton Terrace, seriously injuring Yazz who was in the backyard next door. The explosion left Yazz deaf and she struggled to come to terms with the major change. She ended up befriending Finn O'Connor, but he was forced out of the village by Edward Hutchinson.
2019-: Relationship with Tom
At Christmas, Yazz was set up on a date with Tom by Peri and Romeo Nightingale. After a successful date, Tom asked Yazz out on a second date. Yazz was left disappointed when she discovered that surgery to potentially fix her hearing was too risky, and Tom helped her design her hearing aids to help her feel less self-conscious about them. Tom supported Yazz as she attempted to begin a career in journalism, and Yazz supported Tom through his business ventures. Their relationship quickly progressed: the pair got engaged in November 2020 and married at New Year's in The Hutch, with Tom legally registering the marriage in January 2021.
After the arrival of Yazz's cousin Shaq Qureshi, several more family secrets were revealed. Shaq discovered that his parents were not his biological parents and initially suspected that Kashif was his father, but instead discovered that Misbah was his biological mother. Misbah revealed that Ali Shahzad was Shaq's biological father and told the family about the night Shaq was conceived, leading to them realising that Ali had raped Misbah. Meanwhile, Tom and Yazz's relationship began to struggle as Tom didn't feel that Yazz was reflecting the effort he was putting into their marriage, and ended up kissing Cher McQueen. Yazz struggled to forgive Tom, especially after a miscommunication between the pair resulted in the premature publishing of an article about Misbah's rape. Yazz was fired by The Chester Herald and Misbah was informed that she likely wouldn't get her day in court.
Yazz eventually forgave Tom, and not working at The Chester Herald lead to her taking more control over one of Tom's businesses, Park Café. Having found an advertisement, Tom suggested to Yazz that she applied for the receptionist job at Hollyoaks High School as she would also be in charge of the newspaper. Despite an unsuccessful interview, Sally changed her mind after finding Yazz comforting student Mason Chen-Williams and Yazz was hired.
|67 Christleton Terrace||Since 25th September 2017|
- 2017: Yasmine dances at a party.
- 2017-2019: Yasmine dances with her sister Farrah.
- 2019-2022: Yasmine releases a butterfly together with her half-brother Sami and her mother Misbah behind The Love Boat.
- 2022-: Yasmine places a takeaway bag on Tom Cunningham's clipboard, before walking over to meet with her family.
|“||Great. Books wrecked already. Thought there was drama in my family. I'm Yasmine. It's my first day. Know the difference between a winner and a loser? A loser writes little comments on lockers. Winners give them black eyes.||”|
— First line