By Minushi Perera
Recently crowned Miss Sri Lanka for Miss World Amritaa De Silva is driven by a passion to make a difference
Beauty queen and tomboy, winner of the Miss World Sri Lanka 2016 title Amritaa De Silva is a passionate humanitarian, animal lover, cook, teacher and model.
Sweeping aside the competition to take the coveted title at the Siyatha Miss World Sri Lanka pageant which reached its grand climax on August 30 at the Colombo Hilton, the newly crowned beauty at 22 has many interests. Growing up with four siblings, she studied at All Saints College in Borella then at St. Nicholas International College, and went on to Buckingham University in London to complete a degree in computing. As she always wanted to help in charity projects while in university she started her own facebook page called “drop of life”.
After graduation and returning to Sri Lanka, she taught children Maths, English and Science at her residence. Her hope is to build her own institution, which would provide free education for children with special needs and those from low-income families.
She is working with Siviraja School in Chilaw, providing them sports equipment and with also an IDE school for special needs children in Rajagiriya.
At home, cooking is her No. 1 hobby. “I love to cook anything despite being a vegetarian,” she said with a smile. Her love for cooking comes from the family as her father Russell de Silva had previously owned the restaurant “Le Palace” in Colombo. She said that at the age of 12 she decided to become a vegetarian when the realisation dawned that life has more meaning that way than to sacrifice another living thing for one’s own satisfaction.
Her commitment to teaching also extends beyond being just a job.“To see that these kids are not isolated anymore and are happy – that feeling is rewarding,” Amritaa said.
Amritaa is also a sportswoman – she plays volleyball and netball and was the goal shooter, volleyball captain and sports captain at school. She also likes to go camping. “You may find it hard to believe but I’m actually a tomboy to the core. From a young age I was the tomboy in the family. There are five of us but I was always the one climbing a tree or digging some hole somewhere,” she said.
Amritaa got into modelling thanks to well known designer and beauty expert, Ramzi Rahaman, their neighbour, who had urged her for the past five years to take part in the Miss Sri Lanka pageant. After coming back to Sri Lanka she thought that it would be good exposure for the things she planned to do.
Senaka de Silva’s training was helpful and the training during the pageant preparation period had taught her a lot, she says.
Amritaa is brimming with ideas for the future. Right ahead is the Miss World competition in Washington DC where she will represent Sri Lanka on the world stage. She also has plans to build her own school, continue modelling, to act if given the chance, open a restaurant and learn how to handle and teach special needs children. She would also like to launch an initiative on proper garbage disposal, a current problem in the country.
Sri Lankan norms and culture inhibit women from taking part in beauty pageants because of the pressure from family but Amritaa urges young hopefuls to try and convince their families, get their support, and take part in a beauty contest “because it gives a platform to show one’s skills and talent.” Her success should be an inspiration.