Getting to know Miss Earth Sri Lanka 2021 – Diandra Soysa

By Mahika Panditha

We have to say our congratulations to Diandra Soysa, the newly crowned Miss Earth Sri Lanka 2021! It is so amazing to see the abundance of talent in our country. Diandra is currently finishing her studies in computing, whilst also working part-time as a model. She is the middle child in her family of five.

“Growing up, I was the mischievous one always doing something crazy; I consider my younger self a bit of a tomboy, as I grew up with my brothers. I think I was lucky enough to have a very happy childhood filled with lots of love and happiness,” she shared with Happinez.

She hopes to use her platform to create powerful and meaningful change, and we cannot wait to see where her journey will take her. We had the chance to talk to Diandra last week about the pageant, her modelling career, and more!

Tell us a little about your journey thus far, and what you are excited for in the pageant later this year?

This is going to be my very first pageant ever and I’m really humbled by this opportunity, as now I get to use my voice and work with several organisations that are currently working towards protecting and conserving our biodiversity. I believe this is going to be a life-changing opportunity for me, filled with lots of challenges and experiences that will add value to my life.

I’m also really excited to meet all my fellow delegates and everyone organising this pageant, and I cannot wait to represent my beautiful paradise island and show the world that we Sri Lankans are much more than just beauty!

Tell us about the prep. What do you have to do before the pageant?

There’s always a lot of prepping to do when it comes to pageants, but due to this unfortunate pandemic situation and the pageant being held virtually, it takes a lot more work than in a normal situation, as we have a limited amount of time to get everything sorted out. This pageant requires us to send in videos of a variety of different criteria as we cannot take part physically, and so we would have to travel to destinations around Sri Lanka, which is going to be a bit of a challenge as we are currently under lockdown and facing a global pandemic. But I would like to add the fact that I think a little bit of a challenge always makes you stronger, and new experiences are everything life is about!

How do you take care of yourself whilst going through this process and all the preparation?

I definitely get in a workout four times a week and make sure I maintain a healthy diet. I especially drink a lot of water to keep myself hydrated.

I also believe that it’s important to be healthy, both mentally as well as physically, and in order to do that, I’ve got into the habit of maintaining a book of gratitude as it in return works as a meditation for me.

How did you get into modelling?

In 2018, I was asked to model for by Olivia Siriwardena, a designer and senior past pupil from my school, and to be honest, I had zero knowledge about modelling as I had just got out of school. But that experience really made me realise that I did have a great passion towards it and that it was something I wanted to venture into. It also opened doors for me because I was then given a huge opportunity to walk for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (MBFW), one of the biggest fashion weeks in the world, by former Principal of the Academy of Design (AOD) and British designer Karen Macleod. It all happened so fast for me that I will be forever grateful to them.

Then in 2019, I was scouted by The Agency workshop and they really helped me come up with their constant support and guidance. The Agency Sri Lanka Founder Anjuli Flamer-Caldera, celebrity stylist/fashion designer Kosh Hewage, and my amazing manager has really supported me and guided me throughout my modelling career; they have  given me even more opportunities to walk for Colombo Fashion Week (CFW), which is yet another major fashion week in Asia, and to work with some of the biggest designers in the Sri Lankan fashion industry.

Fast forward two years, here I am being crowned Miss Earth Sri Lanka 2021, and I cannot put into words how humbled and grateful I am to be the Sri Lankan title holder to one of the biggest pageants in the world, especially because it has a very valuable cause behind it. I would definitely consider it to be the biggest achievement in my modelling career.

Any advice for aspiring models?

It is definitely understood that I started with zero knowledge or experience in the fashion industry, but over the years, I really did have to work hard and put in a lot of effort to come to where I am today. It definitely takes a lot of time and dedication, but everything becomes a bit easier when you are extremely passionate about it.

So if you are planning on being a part of the fashion industry, make sure you find a reputable agency, give it your 100%, maintain professionalism, and, most importantly, always be prepared to embrace rejection. If this industry has taught me anything, it’s resilience, perseverance, and passion!

How has the support of your family been?

I feel absolutely privileged to be brought up by two amazing parents who have always been by my side, guiding me, and supporting me every step of the way. Because of these reasons, I know the meaning and value of love and compassion. Also because of the never-ending support I got, I want to support others just like my parents have supported me, as it completes me as a person to give back to society. It fulfills me.

Can you share a personal experience that shaped you as a person?

I learned that you could grow up in age, but on the inside, you may not change. For a long time, I felt like I needed somebody to take care of me because all my life my parents had been by my side, protecting me and making sure I was always safe and sound. I think that was the little girl inside of me. But eventually, taking up modelling as a part-time career not only opened doors for me, but it also made me more independent, strong, and confident in myself and made me realise that I’ve always been able to take care of myself.

It’s a good thing to realise that I was still looking at the world through a child’s eye in some instances. Introspection is a good thing when you can come out of it in a positive light. If you are going to be grown up, don’t beat yourself up. Life is a journey and there may be bumps along the way, but you keep going, growing, learning, and being grateful.

If you could share one message with the world, what would it be?

We are on the verge of experiencing really bad climate change. The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of the harm we’ve caused. If we do not act on these issues and start showing sensitivity towards Mother Earth faster, it will be the end of our existence.

As humans, it is our duty to protect and create a better place for our future generations to come. So, start now and act fast; contribute to the betterment of the planet in at least the smallest way possible, as a billion individuals contributing to one cause will definitely make a difference. Eco-living is not just a movement – it’s a lifestyle!

Photos © Arantha Photography