In The Spotlight with Ornella Gunesekere

In The Spotlight with Ornella Gunesekere, Miss Universe Sri Lanka 2018

By Shamindri De Sayrah

Photos by Ushan Gunesekera

Location - ME Colombo

“The best thing you can give the world is your best person.” - Ornella Gunesekere”

Chokolaate magazine sat down with Ornella Gunesekere. A very beautiful, inspiring and extraordinary young woman Ten years ago she was our Chokolaate queen, she has been featured on our cover twice. She is a model, a beauty queen, philanthropist and now, Miss Universe, Sri Lanka2018. We spoke to Ornella about her journey to Miss Universe and the Road ahead, here is what she had to say.

What was your journey to becoming Miss Sri Lanka like?

“Well I’ve had my fair share of pageants. And I’ve always said this will be my last one, but personally after my spine injury I wanted an avenue to put my competitive excitement in and get the adrenaline rushing, and pageants did that for me. So it was an outlet for me to be competitive, enjoy, alsoembrace and celebrate every woman in the contest.”

Those were the physical challenges, but being in this world, this industry; it must have its physical challenges as well, So how do you overcome them?

“I think its how you look at it. For me, I see it as a celebration of people just enjoying being who they are, sharing their platforms, their confidence, their routine, especially in the context of a beauty pageant. When I look at it in that perspective, I learn to embrace even the challenges as something positive. For me pageants equal celebration, confidence, and beauty.”

What have you learned from being a Beauty Queen, and what have you had to change?

“Personally I think it’s just adapting with trends of keeping up with the ‘Beauty Queen’ world, other than that, I’ve just been myself and I think that’s what has taken me so far. I think people value that authenticity, as opposed to just being that typical beauty queen.”So take us back to your roots, what were you like as a kid? Did you see this coming?
“Nope. Pageantry was in was my mum and grandma, they liked modeling, pageants, they liked to become actresses. I was the complete opposite, I liked sports, basketball, dressing like a boy, and I was very much a boy. In my immediate family I’m the only girl. All my cousins were boys. So I grew up watching wrestling and playing counterstrike.”

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

Mindsets. It has to be mindsets and perspectives. I like to believe people are innately good, and it’s just the perspective change that makes things different.

Through Miss Universe you have the opportunity to reach out and inspire the younger generation, what are you hoping to teach them?

“Just be who you are, embrace your strengths, but also be aware of your weakness because that’s what you have to work on in life. Every day is a progress of who you are and who you want to become. My message would be, be yourself and just enjoy and embrace it. Be like you and be the you, you are in the best way you can. That’s what I’ve done with my life. I’ve used examples from people, taken those confidences and put them in me. I’ve worked on me, my dreams, my goals, my passions. The best thing you can give the world is your best person.”

Read more in issue 48 of Chokolaate Magazine, in stores now

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