" Walking the catwalk or posing in front of a camera with an entire fashion crew behind you takes confidence, and that has to feel and come naturally "
Assured and self-aware, fashion model and designer Anuradha Perera is attracting a following for all the right reasons: the millennial is turning heads on the ramps of local fashion shows and gaining traction for being fiercely outspoken when it comes to embracing one’s ethnic background.
Anuradha is one of several models who in many ways is redefining the standards of beauty in South Asia. She is one of a bevy of younger models doing so in a milieu where what people post online is often taken as the gospel truth about life…
When we asked her what the most ‘Sri Lankan thing’ about her is, she laughs and replies: “I’d say it’s the colour of my skin and hair.”
Petite with long black tresses, her beauty simply leaves people in awe. There’s a sort of fierceness in her eyes that is difficult to describe as the young model looks directly into the camera with a pout at the ready to get that ‘perfect shot.’
Contrary to the stormy and almost untouchable persona you see in pictures, ‘Anu’ (as she’s known to her close friends and family) is a bubbly and affable person.
Giggling with the makeup artist while picking her next look, she keeps a steady flow of conversation going throughout the photoshoot. Anuradha has been quiet about her life’s story until now; but she’s ready to share her narrative with her followers and our readers.
Ashwini Vethakan chats with the rising fashionista about her childhood, likes and dislikes, as well as future plans and goals.
The Model Atelier
HAIR AND MAKEUP
Q: How would you like to describe yourself to our readers?
A: I’m into the simple things of life. I love moments of peace and serenity, and find joy in travelling and learning about places I visit.
Q: Besides fashion, what other passions do you have?
A: Actually, I love to garden and pride myself on my green fingers. Cooking is another favourite pastime – I enjoy exploring new flavours and creating fun, quick and easy dishes.
Q: What sort of child first and then teenager were you?
A: I was a very shy child growing up. But when I was a teenager I suddenly changed and came out of my shell, and became a lot more out-going.
Q: Your most memorable moment in life so far...
A: I grew up without my mother (who was overseas) for the better part of my childhood and so I think that to this very day, my most mem-orable moment was seeing her again after nearly 13 years. And I will cherish that feeling forever.
Q: Given that you have a demanding lifestyle, what are your eating habits and how about your fitness regime…?
A: I try to eat healthily as far as possible; and when it comes to fitness, I spend time in the gym or do my regular home workouts.
Q: What do you consider your greatest fear to be?
A: I am scared of losing people who are very close to me and I’m also terrified of enclosed spaces. I have a fear of getting stuck somewhere small… in a place where I can’t even move.
Q: Would you call yourself ‘a romantic’? And what’s the most romantic thing someone has done for you?
A: I don’t think I’m a romantic but I do care for people and I’m a very friendly person.
Q: So what’s your happy place?
A: Spending time with my mum – I find it calming and relaxing.
Q: What songs would we find in an Anuradha-approved playlist?
A: Runaway by Aurora, Talking to the Moon by Bruno Mars and Let Me Down Slowly by Alec Benjamin.
Q: If you weren’t a model, what would you have been?
A: The tourism industry has always interested me so I would have probably been a hotelier.
" I want to reach out to South Asian girls to tell them to love themselves especially the colour of the skin they’re born with and feel comfortable with it "
Dress up or dress down
Lipstick or mascara
Diamonds or pearls
Bath or shower
Men or shoes
Catwalk or photoshoot
Netflix or satellite TV
Facebook or Instagram
Online or offline
Sunrise or sunset
Dogs or cats
Beach or mountains
Ride or drive
Chocolate or vanilla
Truth or dare
Work or play
" Happiness isn’t something you can expect from another person you should be able to feel and experience it yourself "
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about modelling?
A: To stay true to myself.
Q: And what is the most memorable critique you’ve had when walking the catwalk?
A: That I bring life to the outfit I’m wearing.
Q: What advice would you give 13-year-old Anuradha?
A: I’d tell her to keep going and always know that she is worthy. I would also tell her she needs to remember that she’s beautiful – and the only person she should be is herself.
Q: Your thoughts on the beauty standards in Sri Lanka…
A: To be honest, I feel that we have a lot to learn from other countries and there are many aspects we need to change about our present situation.
Q: Can a person be taught to model or is innate talent necessary?
A: Modelling isn’t a skill you can be taught. It’s innate – walking the catwalk or posing in front of a camera with an entire fashion crew be-hind you takes confidence, and that has to feel and come naturally.
Q: If you could pick any fashion show to perform at, where would it be?
A: I’d like to walk the ramp at India’s Lakmé Fashion Week.
Q: You’re part of the first generation of models for whom social media is part and parcel of work. When people look back at this moment in fashion, what do you hope your impact was?
A: I hope to have inspired many young girls to push themselves the way I did and realise their dreams. But more importantly, I want to reach out to South Asian girls to tell them to love themselves – especially the colour of the skin they’re born with and feel comfortable with it.
Q: A little nip and tuck… If you were asked to do something drastic to your body simply to stay ahead and be relevant, how would you react?
A: Well, first and foremost, it’s a big ‘no’ to plastic surgery! And if someone did suggest that to me, I’d be deeply offended.
DATE OF BIRTH
22 February 1993
Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM)
To be a successful international model
To be controlled
When people touch me
ALWAYS WANTED TO BE
Whatever you do, do it from your heart
A vanity pouch
A bottle of water
Her mother – “Because she taught me how to be a strong independent woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for her rights.”
Q: What’s your definition of happiness?
A: Happiness isn’t something you can expect from another person – you should be able to feel and experience it yourself.
Q: How would your family and friends describe you?
A: They’d say that I am fun, understanding and down-to-earth.
Q: You suddenly find yourself stranded alone on a desert island… What are the five most important things you’d need?
A: Water, food, something warm, camping equipment and a torch.
Q: Where is your ideal holiday destination – and why?
A: I don’t really have a specific destination but I do love the hill country.
Q: Your go-to beauty look at this point in time...
A: Smoky eyes and red lipstick.
Q: Describe your ideal date?
A: Chilling with a good movie or series on Netflix.
Q: What do you consider as being your personal style?
A: I have a very bohemian look… and that is what I usually go for.
Q: If you could be an ambassador for a global cause, what would it be – and why?
A: Animal welfare – because I love animals and think championing these creatures and being a voice for the voiceless is a worthy cause.
" I love animals and think championing these creatures and being a voice for the voiceless is a worthy cause "
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A: I don’t think I’d want to change anything about myself because I am perfectly happy with who I’ve become.
Q: What advice would you offer to future generations in Sri Lanka?
A: Always choose quality over quantity.
Q: And what’s next for Anuradha?
A: I guess we’ll all simply have to wait and see!
Lakmé Fashion Week
New York Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week
SONGS TO LISTEN TO
Classical Sinhala music
CHILL OUT SPOTS
“I don’t really have a designated place as a favourite chill out spot.”