Mrs World 2020: A close look at the life of Caroline Jurie | Sunday Observer

Mrs World 2020: A close look at the life of Caroline Jurie

23 August, 2020

“I’ve just finished a fabulous workout,” comes a husky voice from the other end of the line. Caroline Jurie’s days are longer than the hours that fill them. Her extremely busy life is filled with back to back fashion shoots, chief guest invitations for high-end, glamorous events and parties, social campaigns and being mother to her two-year-old daughter – Jurie spends an extremely hyper and vivid life.

Her blissful life

As she recalls, it took split seconds to change her entire life story into a glamorous fairytale that she always dreamt about. She isn’t someone who was born with a silver spoon in her mouth but she is a synonym for being lucky. Although she comes from a very ordinary, middle-class family, she has been gifted with a rare figure, quite unusual in the continent along with the self-confidence that you need to be a queen. Her absolute innocence rocketed her to glory when she won the crown of Mrs World 2020 and it brought back that glory to Sri Lanka after 35 years.

“The Mrs. World crown definitely changed the world around me. However, I’m still who I am. I remember that moment very well. A zillion thoughts ran through my head when they announced my name. The road to that crowning moment on stage was a very long one. It was a fight against all odds, and it took me a few moments to actually realise that this is all real”, she tells me, as the countdown on our 20-minute phone call begins. Any conversation with Caroline is inevitably shaped around sincerity and modesty. Whether it is her glorious, busiest year of being crowned as the Mrs World or the way she has designed her personal life, the humble beauty queen’s ethos is one of mindfulness and sustainability in everything she does. It’s been nine months since she has been crowned and recalling the winning moment she still finds too surreal.

“I remember waking up the next morning and wondering how all of this would change my world. I decided then and there that even though the world around me can change, I must be myself and keep believing in what I believe in, and live my life according to the values and principles that I have always believed in. In the end, we are all human and we all have our ups and downs. Nine months later, I believe I’ve managed to keep my focus intact and I have made the right choices. To me, slow living is about simplifying my life as much as possible,” are her words.

Beauty with a cause

Her recent high profile encounter was at the Colombo Fashion Week where she walked the ramp to raise a voice on violence against women by displaying the ‘Unbreakable’ Collection of young and talented fashion designer, Amilani Perera. In a study by the United Nations, it was found that more than 50 percent of women experience severe domestic violence in their lifetime. In this backdrop the show’s organisers decided it was important to utilise the platform. Jurie has been working with Amilani since she was crowned. “I chose to work with her because she is more than a designer. Most of her clothing is brought to life by women and girls who have been at the receiving end of gender based violence. My Walk in Amilani’s ‘Unbreakable’ Collection was a walk to raise a voice on violence against women. Amilani too strongly believes that as women we need to make our voices heard and that we must do our part to make this country, and our society a better place for everyone,”

When Amilani and the United Nations Population Fund collaborated on a walk to raise a voice at the Colombo Fashion Week and invited Jurie to join the noble cause by taking the ramp with the ‘Unbreakable’ collection, Jurie didn’t think twice about supporting them.

Explaining the future of the collaboration, Jurie stressed the fact that the walk must surely be continued beyond the high-end fashion show.

“Violence against women isn’t something we can just talk about for a moment and highlight in a fashion show and just forget about. These girls and women need a voice. I’m using my crown as Mrs. World 2020 to bring the attention to this dark stain that’s been around for a long time, but it’s only been whispered about. It’s not a stain that can be erased or removed just like that. It’s a fight and it’s a long road, but every journey starts somewhere. Amilani took that path and I’m now joining her on this journey,”

On her time in self-quarantine

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the entire world. It was unexpected and everyone was brought to their knees. Yes, it also disrupted Jurie’s professional, as well as personal life. Being in quarantine Jurie has strengthened her belief in the need for a sustainable way of life. Her hope is that more people make the choice to live a mindful life. “I made lifestyle changes—not new discoveries in this time,” she points out. “I’ve used this time to make more conscious choices.”

Never before in her life, she has spent so many days at home, with this kind of time on her hands. While she’s sure that everyone goes through different emotions—from fear and panic to a realisation of and trying to learn from the situation and finally, to acceptance and acknowledgement, she has had plenty of time to ponder during this period of quietness.

“A crucial thing that has occurred to me is to reflect upon what matters to me and about my social campaigns that I wanted to do for the betterment of youth in the country. It has made me look at my life’s work and ask myself what parts of it I would do over. And perhaps most importantly, what will I do going forward that has a deeper meaning and resonance to the person I am and whether I want to be on the same ‘treadmill’ for the next 30 years or else, do I want to move to something different.

“However, as far as my personal life is concerned, I had a lot of quality time with my family. We are now coming out of it, and we have to stay positive and focused. Things will bounce back and we have to learn our lessons and move on. We should not think of the opportunities lost and wallow in self-pity. Life is a journey. For every drawback we face, there’s always a rainbow on the horizon. I’m positive and I am confident that we Sri Lankans are resilient and strong minded. I’m looking forward to all the possibilities ahead,” Jurie says with confidence.

The role of a beauty queen

Being a beauty queen in today’s context is more demanding, as you are constantly trying to live up to the public image that is expected of you. It’s mostly to do with the fact that Social Media is a livestream of our lives and everything we do. Jurei believes any beauty queen, model or public figure linked to the beauty and fashion industry can use their power of voice and influence to talk about social causes which are close to their hearts. “In the end, what’s the point of being a beauty queen if she cannot use the recognition to do something positive for the betterment of the society she lives in,”

The clock is ticking and reminds us we are getting into the last bit of our conversation and to wrap up the fruitful conversation with Jurie. I asked her “What three words describe you?”. After few seconds of silence she says, “Loving, humble and fearless”.