Meet Sandali Kulatunga!
By Mahika Panditha
For those of you that shop at GFlock or follow their page, you are sure to have seen the beautiful Sandali Kulatunga. She is a 21-year-old student at the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and she is studying for her final exams at the moment. Sandali hopes to be financially independent and also raise five of her own dogs – we are so here for that, as we love our furry friends! Like the rest of us, Sandali’s guilty pleasure is scrolling through TikTok with no control – I swear, you do not even notice the time going by when using TikTok; it just…passes. In the future, Sandali would like to be her own boss, and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for her. We had the chance to speak to her a while back, and here is what she had to say.
Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I am a 5’2” short little girl with the appetite of an elephant. I have two sisters – one elder and one younger. Both of my parents are in the education field; my dad is the principal of an international school and my mom, an English teacher in the government sector. Having been brought up in such a family, I was always pushed to excel in my academics, which I believe I did during my school career. Currently, I am a CIMA student, sitting for my exams in the final stage while pursuing modelling part time. I have a dog, namely Kylie, who is the love of my life. I love to travel, explore new food and cuisines, and be adventurous and spend time with my dog and sisters.
I absolutely love what I do when it comes to my part-time modelling and I strive to be better at it each day. Although it is only part time at the moment, I aspire to base my career in the same field, or at least something related to it. I despise working nine-to-five desk jobs, so I want to avoid that if I can help it. I love meeting new people, working on projects, travelling, and putting my time, effort, and energy only into things that make my soul happy.
How did you get into modelling?
By accident! It was a random day back in 2019, and I got a DM (direct message) asking whether I would be interested in being cast for a TV commercial. Me, being the drama queen I am, pounced at the opportunity. Since then I have been in 12 TV commercials. After the first lockdown in Sri Lanka ended in June 2020, I had my first-ever photoshoot with a renowned photographer, Arantha Sirimanne. After that, my modelling career took flight and I have done over 20 photo shoots since then, both, for my portfolio and commercially.
What has been your favourite/best memory thus far?
The best memory I’ve had so far would be landing the modelling gig for GFlock. Being a young, freelancing model, I face many hardships in terms of getting suitable modelling gigs, negotiating payments, and even performing at the shoot. I’ve never received any sort of training or guidance for modelling, so I just kind of had to figure things out along the way. I was so excited and overwhelmed when GFlock reached out – mostly because I was told by quite a few people that I won’t get any good brands to work with on my own. So it was a small victory for me in a way.
What is your dream modelling gig?
Oh, I have a few. I love the renowned Indian brand Sabyasachi, and it would mean the world to me to be in one of their bridal shoots. Making it to the cover of Vogue one day would also be a dream come true.
Aside from this, what do you like to spend your time doing?
I love dancing. I spend most of my free time dancing and just moving around in my room. I also love spending time with my doggo, showering her with cuddles and kisses. Despite being an adventure lover, my ideal day off would be to take a drive to a calm place, away from all the noise and just sit and enjoy the moment whilst being in the company of my favourite people.
What is your opinion on the beauty industry in Sri Lanka?
I think it is growing rapidly which is a great thing for our country. Especially with the increasing use of social media, new and upcoming models, makeup artists, designers, and others have a platform to showcase their talents and progress in their careers. It is absolutely incredible to see so many people chasing their dreams and it fills me with hope. I believe that with proper infrastructure, guidance, and training, we can reach international levels with regard to the beauty industry. I hope it will be in the near future and I wish to contribute to it as well.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced working as a model?
Being criticised for my skin colour. Sadly, South Asian society does not embrace the beautiful brown skin we are gifted with and due to this discrimination, I have had many rejections, especially from TV commercials. It was rather challenging for me to not let that impact my journey, and to convince society that everybody and all skin types are beautiful in their own different ways. I absolutely love the skin that I was born with and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It is something that I am very proud of and I want to encourage others to be proud of their skin colour as well, regardless of what colour it is.
What are your future plans?
I don’t like making big plans for the future because life is so unpredictable and often takes us by surprise. In the short term, however, my only plan is to complete my higher studies within the next couple of months and to progress further in my modelling career.
My ultimate goal is to be content in life, to be a mommy to my furry kids, and build my business, all while travelling the globe.
Any advice for aspiring models?
I don’t think I’m suitable to give any advice as such, since I am still figuring my way about the industry too, but from my experience thus far, all I can say is, be true to yourself and know your worth. Don’t be afraid to demand for what you do best. Learn how to say no when necessary, maintain a good reputation, and you can go a long way in this industry. While testing your limits, make sure to stick to what’s suitable and works best for you.