Words: Tina Edward Gunawardhana Photos: Sandeeshwara Perera / Hair and makeup: you by wax museum / Stylist: Anjuli Flamer- Caldera / from the agency Sri Lanka / Assistant stylist: Joanne Rodrigo / Designer co-ordinator: Kat Scott / Assistant designer co-ordinator: Kavishna Kuruwitage / Location: Senanayake Flats, Colombo 07, designed in 1957 by Minnette De Silva, Sri Lanka’s first woman architect.
Sonali Silva, an active and vociferous she decides champion is a staunch advocate of women’s rights. A graduate in Medical Bioscience and Political Science this top model is striving to make a change in the sphere of gender inequality.
When did you realize that as a sought after model you had a powerful platform to make people listen?
I just didn’t want to contribute to the image of “perfect Instagram girls and their perfect lives.” I’m not one of them. I have struggled with mental health issues all my life, including a history of self-harm and a battle with Bipolar disorder. I wanted to start by accepting my reality, being honest with myself, and the people who watch my life on social media. It seemed like the right thing to do. I think society needs to celebrate authenticity.
It’s not new information that social media affects your mental health. Constantly comparing yourself to the image people portray on social media is draining. If in some way young girls were looking up to me, I wanted them to know that a work in progress is just as beautiful. First I started sharing my mental health struggles. Trips to a psychologist or a psychiatrist, a post about being more than a product of the circumstances you are dealt with and so forth.
The truth is powerful and people are drawn to it. Those who might have similar experiences then know they are not alone and can be more open and comfortable with their truth as well.
Suit: Shamindri Ranasinghe Necklace: Salvage Recycle Ring: Satvrn
Saree: Not Saree, Top: Love and Lemons Scarf: ‘Safe Abortion Scarf’ Earrings: Stylist’s Own Boots: Gucci
Waist Coat and Pleated Skirt: Shamindri Ranasinghe Necklace: Salvage Recycle Earrings: Aldo Shoes: Pedro
Coat/Pants: Kavishna Kuruwitage Shoes: Jimmy Choo Earrings: H&M Necklace: Misho
Shirt: Senuri Doloswala Earrings: ‘Salvage Recycle’ Shoes: Christian Louboutin Scarf: ‘Safe Abortion Scarf’
Floral Saree/Saree Jacket: Not saree . Earrings: Stylist’s Own Shoes: Schutz