Belleboss Interview : Harini Silva

THE  FORTY-FIRST INSTALLATION OF THE BELLEBOSS SERIES

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I hoped that with this series, I would find a way to appreciate the incredible South Asian women of our generation, who are breaking boundaries and paving new paths for themselves.Moreover, I would like you to take a little bit of your time to realize how incredible the women around you are.

Especially if you are a woman! I know that at least one woman’s story in my #BelleBoss series will inspire you to follow your dreams, your vision and most importantly your heart. Even if that means breaking a few rules and many societal prejudices along the way.

 

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Could you give me us an introduction to yourself? 

My name is Harini Nimaya Silva and I am 21 years old.  Most people in my country must know me as a model but before that I was a professional swimmer who represented Sri Lanka in international meets and also a member of Sri Lanka Army swimming team. Being the only child in the family, seeing me as a professional swimmer was my Father’s biggest dream, hence I believe I fulfilled his wish.

 

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To tell more about myself, I am a friendly and an open-minded person who would always be willing to give a helping hand, spreading love, kindness and compassion as my main motive in life. Apart from this, I’m also a vocalist, sketch artist and running my own charity foundation “Ray of Sunshine by Harini”. To elaborate a bit more singing, portrait sketching, travelling around is something I love to do during my leisure time. Just to give a short brief on my achievements, I am the Runner up of Miss Sri Lanka for Miss World 2017 and crowned as Top Model of The World 2018 where I will be participating on its international pageant in Egypt this December.

 

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Talking about my childhood, going down that memory lane, it was never a great experience and also things were never easy for me to back then. Being bullied by most of the other kids for being chubby and what not, also losing my father at a young age, my childhood was quite dark I’d say but I am glad the fact that I overcame all those obstacles and here I am today bigger, better and stronger!

Who inspires you as a person?

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It would be really hard for me to name only one particular person who had inspired me the most and been a role model. During different stages of my life, so many people, situations, moments, experiences and failures have inspired me to become who I am today.

My parents raised me up by teaching what’s right & wrong and to be kind, compassionate and helpful to one another. My friends & colleagues showed me what team work and unity is like. There are great icons around the world who had everything yet embraced simplicity, helped the needy and canvassed nothing but peace, love and harmony.

 

Every individual I’ve come across has inspired me in some way and I am thankful for all the positivity I gained through each and every one of them. However, it also depends on your willingness to take every moment of your life as an inspiration to make it a better day for tomorrow.

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What motivated you to apply for the Sri Lankan Miss World contest and how was your
experience?

Just to give an insight, the purpose of a beauty pageant is to find and build one’s personality, strengths, gain confidence and raise their self-esteem, and of course, prove that it is not impossible to be highly smart and beautiful at the same time. Miss World is all about being a beauty queen with a purpose. Since I was a teenager, I’ve always wanted to be the voice on behalf of the people who are in need, I’ve always been passionate about raising awareness on key areas which often go unnoticed like anxiety, depression, also to be an advocate on such areas in my country and around the world.

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Hence, I pushed myself take part in Miss Sri Lanka for Miss World in 2017 and I leveraged this platform and carried out campaigns to raise awareness on anxiety, depression and also, I carried out numerous recreational activities for the patients at the National Institute of Mental Health. Overall, I had a great experience taking the part in this pageant My experience here at the local pageant itself was wonderful, the competition itself was just more than winning a crown, it meant something about becoming a strong woman and I may not have won nor be the winner but with all respect to the judges, with an open mind, I embraced becoming the runner up..!

 What do you think has been your greatest achievements in your career? 

Screenshot_20190225-233904_Instagram.jpg I’ve accomplished so many things in life that some may not come to my notice. If I were to mention few of my achievements were swimming for the national team and representing my country in the international arena followed and also representing the Sri Lanka Army Swimming team has been a great honour for me.

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Battling to achieve my biggest dreams by overcoming all the obstacle that came in front was my greatest achievement ever.

Things were never easy for me at the start, I’ve always been that cornered and bullied kid in school who was considered to be “fat & ugly, yet I urged myself to go through an immense physical transformation, mentally prepared myself to drive towards my greatest passion which is modeling.

 

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Today I believe that I’ve reached up to a decent standard and of course I still have a long way to go and have a lot of things to learn and I’m glad all my hard works are finally paying off.

Apart from these, establishing my own charity foundation “Ray of Sunshine” at the age of 16, inspired after the loss of my beloved father. I’m so glad the fact that I’ve been able to use this foundation to raise awareness and be the voice on behalf of the ones who are in need by carrying at various kinds of projects since 2016.

Most of all, I hope to utilize all the skillsets that God has blessed me to serve my country in the best possible way.

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I have also mentioned some of my most anticipated achievements below for reference

  1. Top Model of The World 2018 – Runner up
  2.  Top Model of The World, Sri Lanka 2018
  3. Miss Grand International 2018 – Runner up
  4. Miss World Sri Lanka 2017 – Runner up
  5. Miss Teen Heritage 2016

 

How did you start your role as WPDO ambassador?

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Well this was quite unexpected, I believe my social service alongside with my career has been monitored throughout over the years by many in Sri Lanka but I never expected that I will be taken on board as an ambassador in such a short span of time.

However I’m grateful to be given with this platform to share Ray of sunshine foundation’s contributions to the society also to work diligently for global peace with a series of lifetime achievements and continue to be a social activist.

Could you tell us a bit more about a ray of sunshine by Harini?

I established the ‘’Ray of Sunshine’’ foundation with the motive of helping the able and
differently able people to overcome depression, engage in aesthetic activities, providing goods, materials, medicines through raising funds and help achieve their projected goals.

 

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This was indeed established with the loving memory of my late father. With the help of my team, we have worked on numerous projects partnering up with National Cancer Hospital, National Institute of Mental Health, Sucharithodaya Children’s Home to name
a few. Also, we initiated a national campaign for creating awareness on depression and mental health across the Island. I would like to personally thank each and every one who join hands with us as a volunteer for all the support that’s been provided and we hope to do some great projects based on helping the ones in need this year.

Could you tell a little bit more about your experience in anxiety and depression?

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I was diagnosed with clinical depression back in 2015 after the loss of my beloved Father, and Just to give an insight, 90% of the people who suffer from depression doesn’t seek for help.

It is just like any other illness that requires intervention. Unfortunately, mental health concerns are still mostly misunderstood in many parts of the world today, including our country.

Before I start off, I am so delighted to say that I somehow overcame this by battling it with my own will and of course with the help of a special person who walked into my life, this has not only taught me how to survive but also hoping that I could be a voice by speaking up, and impact to at least one’s life in this entire journey by letting them know that I’ve been through it and dealt with it so it is possible for anyone who’s suffering from such to overcome

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Depression…it just eats you up from the inside  out. It’s like a monster inside your head that takes over.

Feeling of emptiness, persistent sadness, tearfulness, anxious, feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, loss of interest in our day to day activities, even hobbies. I would come home and feel so exhausted from all of the voices in my head that I would just sleep to block it all out, didn’t want to wake up because living, in reality, was a nightmare.

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At its worst, it leads to suicidal thoughts. ‘Cheer up’ was the worst thing anyone said to me. Those two words triggered thousands of horrible thoughts.

I knew I needed help but asking for it just made me feel like I was a burden. However, I was brave enough to seek help from my mother for medications and other procedure the doctors suggested. The moment I underwent medications, I am honestly that I did such as it was really helpful for me during that stage.

At the same time, I balanced the wish that I could be free out of it along with the fear of thinking that it might lead to a relapse.
It is important to know that not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom, which means not everyone gets affected in the same way. Perhaps, there’s no & one-size-fits-all; when it comes to treating this mental health condition.

 

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The one thing I realized about my whole recovery process is that the only person who can truly help me is me. I have learnt to change my thought processes and stopped victimizing myself, its a habit that’s been hard to break but I know I’ve made some positive changes and the world itself has seen it, in fact, my experiences have made me who I am today.

There’s one piece of advice for those who are struggling, it would not to suffer in silence.

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There are people out there who have been through everything that you are experiencing, even worse conditions. Getting to the bright side may seem impossible to overcome but believe me, you will get there. Speak up!  never be ashamed! You are not alone!

What tips do you have for aspiring models in Sri Lanka?

In my opinion, the key to becoming a professional model would be by having discipline,
honesty, integrity, confidence and being committed to striving towards the goals that are set up.

Along with possessing these abilities, should have a clear vision and a proper plan ahead and work hard to be successful.

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Could you describe your sense of style?

Now, this is a tricky question. 

Being honest, my sense of style depends on how my mood is and where I am going. What I feel is it’s not about what you wear but how you carry yourself. Always carry yourself with confidence and you will always be on top. However, it’s good to be dressed neatly and look good. I tend to go ahead with the outfit that I am comfortable with and I don’t have any specific preference as such.

 

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What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

I really don’t know what plan God has for me in future.  But as a goal, I hope to work hard as I can to take myself to the international arena in modelling, to achieve everything I’ve dreamt of. Also establishing my own clothing brand which is something that I hope to achieve in near future.

 

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