Wins Third Runner-up title for Sri Lanka at Mrs World Peace 2021 | Sunday Observer
Nilusha Fernando

Wins Third Runner-up title for Sri Lanka at Mrs World Peace 2021

4 April, 2021

Just two weeks ago, the Mrs World Peace 2021 beauty pageant announced its final winners after three months of competition. In its sixth consecutive year, the pageant had circumvented the issues of the global pandemic by having proceedings done completely online and with over 44 countries participating and became the first and largest virtual international beauty pageant.

Representing Sri Lanka in this extraordinary and ambitious event was Nilusha Fernando who went onto become the third runner-up as well as win the Talent Round and earn the title of Mrs Empowerment. In an interview in Nilusha shared with us her thoughts on and experiences in taking part Mrs World Peace 2021.

Q: Could you describe the Mrs World Peace competition? What does winning it mean to you?

A: This pageant has been specially conducted to encourage all the delegates of Mrs. World Peace to do social and charitable activities as world peace ambassadors. And it was started and organised during the pandemic as there was a need to strengthen the bonds of women around the world to spread positive vibes.

I’m really proud of winning the third runner-up place as more people got to know who I am and that popularity will help me to do something for the women in society and to raise awareness regarding how world peace can be achieved from the inner peace of each one of us and then by spreading it to the world.

Q: For you, who has had a great and extensive career in modeling, how much do you value taking the third runner-up at this competition?

A: I was introduced to the modeling industry by Lou Ching Wong and Geraldine Bandaranayake and I have been working as a model in Sri Lanka for 21 years. From the experience and the knowledge I have gathered during these 21 years, I faced this pageant with the intention of bringing attention to Sri Lanka.

The story behind this victory is full of hardships and obstacles. I had to do everything by myself with the minimum support of the industry and without the financial aid of a sponsor. Only for the talent round dance item did I get the support of a professional but all the other high quality videos had to be planned and organised by myself. Winning the third runner-up gave me a reward for all the hard work and sacrifices I made for this pageant. And I can say this victory added value to my modelling career.

Mrs. World Peace Organization has been conducted for six consecutive years and this is the first time that a Sri Lankan has participated in this pageant. I was also able to be one of the first to participate in the worlds’ first virtual beauty pageant.

Q: Having competed against 44 other contestants globally, what do you believe allowed you to place yourself as high as you did?

A:I believe I was taken towards this victory mainly by my unwavering courage and my faith in my Lord Jesus which is my first priority in whatever I do. And I should never forget my supportive husband, my loving son and my whole family; who were always there with me throughout; encouraging me whenever I was mentally depressed with a huge workload.

And I was blessed to have a lovely crowd of fans around me who encouraged me. I think I’m one of the few out of the 44 contestants who had a huge fan base. It was the greatest strength I had.

Q:What did you think of your fellow competitors?

A: Actually those beauties were extremely talented and most of them were professionals from different fields with much experience. Every one of them did their level best at this pageant and the talent each one of them had were incomparable and distinct from one another. Even though those beauties were fighting for one crown, they were united until the last moment and were helping with each other and were always in touch.

Q: I understand, that the Mrs World Peace pageant took place over the course of three months. Could you describe what you had to do in that time? What unique experiences did you gain, if any?

A: Yes, it was over three months. But I joined late and I was the last to join, so I had only one month to t prepare. I hadn’t made an early decision as I had some health issues and couldn’t find a sponsor.

At the beginning, I was afraid to participate as it was a large scale project.

Through this pageant, I learnt how to handle a huge project like this to achieve short term targets. I was the contestant, I was the national director on my own, I was the event manager and I did everything and I’m so proud of myself. Today, I celebrate as a strong woman who has achieved a lot of things and learnt a lot and I know, this pageant brought my life forward.

Q: What would you say was your proudest moment in this pageant?

A: I would say the best performance of mine in this pageant was in the talent round, in which I performed my dance item.

I had to finish it within eight days and it was even more challenging with my knee issue. I practiced for this item within a short period of time. Even though I had been suffering from knee pain, I didn’t give up on this. I worked hard from morning till night ttowards victory. Though as good as it was, it could have been done better if I had more time.

I was so excited when they were going to announce the talent round winner because my main target was to bring the talent award to Sri Lanka. Finally, I achieved my goal over the other great performances of 43 countries.

Q: As someone who has competed in live pageants before, what do you feel were the biggest differences in doing things online? Were there any critical disadvantages or conveniences in a virtual pageant?

A: I see advantages and disadvantages in virtual pageants.

The major advantage is that we are getting the chance to be with our family throughout the pageant and that was the biggest relief I had throughout. If we were in another country, we would all be alone.

But in a way, virtual pageants are unfair for the contestants. Judges can’t see the true appearance of the contestants as they sometimes look different in front of the cameras so that there is a greater possibility for misjudgments. Even though we do our maximum, we might lose the chance for an award from one single mistake, so we need to have maximum focus on everything being discussed throughout with lots of difficulty.

I’m a person who is very lazy when it comes to the phone, reading WhatsApp messages. But this time somehow I had to be connected with everyone online throughout the day. I had to totally forget my day to day activities. Sometimes, they want us to go live and within a very short period of time, we have to get ready with all the dresses and ornaments and should appear in front of them. This was not as easy as I thought.

One may think that virtual pageants are cost effective. But it’s the opposite. I had to incur unexpected costs in producing videos and other tasks. I had to travel far to find locations, I had to gather professionals from different fields such as video directors and a camera crew. I can say that this was totally a stressful period for me.

Q: Do you see this becoming the norm in the future?

A: Yes. It could be. Now, almost all the countries have innovated new ways of normalising their routine with the prevailing pandemic situation. This has been a perfect example for that. Even though this is challenging, I hope this would be a new trend in the coming years.

Q: Do you have any plans to take part in more pageants like this in the future?

A: Yes. I know I have the capability of participating in more and more pageants like this.

Q: Finally, do you have anyone you’d like to give thanks to? Anybody who has helped you achieve this challenging victory that you would like to credit?

A: I pay my gratitude to Lord Jesus for all the blessings given to achieve this great victory. Louching Wong and Geraldine Bandaranaayke were my teachers in the modeling field. The strong foundation laid by them has brought me to where I am today.

My gratitude to my mom, husband, little son and my whole family who supported me unconditionally.

My loving Facebook friends, I truly appreciate all their blessings and love.

Also my grateful thanks to photographer Prishan Pandithage. Costume designer, Kanishka Sangabo , SeaGate hotel owner Thanuj and Hotel Summerfields.

I should never forget my choreographer Mr. Gayan Srimal and the instructor Nilanjan Daminda. I take opportunity to pay my sincere gratitude for all of them for their immense support.

Finally, I would like to thank Sunday Observer for this interview.