By Venessa Anthony
There are so many of us, who as little girls vehemently shied away from playing dress-up, Barbie dolls, and the colour pink. Sayuri Jayarathne was the same – she was constantly outside, climbing trees, roughhousing, and was too busy being a tomboy to think about her femininity.
As she grew up, her sister, who was studying fashion designing at the time, would force her into all her creations and have her pose for pictures. And while she did so reluctantly, eventually after looking at how stunning the photoshoots turned out, she realised that she loved the glamorous life of modelling and chose to pursue her career in the fashion industry.
Brian Kerkoven, her first mentor, quite literally walked her through the motions. Her days of running down her street and engaging in all sorts of sports paid off when she realised the stamina and athleticism demanded by a model. She perfected the catwalk, the expressions, and the poses, and went on to represent Sri Lanka in the Top Model of the World Pageant 2020.
The Morning Brunch had a chat with Sayuri on the highlights of her career, and also received a few fashion tips from the professional herself.
When did you get your big break?
When I joined Miss Sri Lanka for the Top Model of the World Pageant 2019, I came second runner-up and won two titles to represent my country in two different pageants. That was something that I didn’t expect, but I gained a lot of confidence and opportunities after the win, and even though I couldn’t win the title of Top Model of the World 2019, it was a joy representing Sri Lanka in the competition.
What is your most memorable moment from your years in the fashion industry?
My favourite memory is when I won second runner-up at the Supermodel International World Pageant in Thailand when I was 17 years old. That was a magical moment in my life that I will never forget!
What was your favourite shoot and why?
It’s hard to pick one from the many I have done over the years, because each shoot has helped me explore a different side of myself. So I appreciate every opportunity that I have got, and I’m just thankful for all the experiences.
Many people think modelling is just about style and makeup. What’s your take on this?
The majority of the people see the end result, but they fail to realise that a lot of work is done behind the scenes. They don’t see the hard work that is put in by makeup artists, photographers, and models, and they forget that we are also humans battling our insecurities and not just “models”. We have our own personal battles, and yet we have to display happiness even when times get tough in our lives – for us, this is actually art and we are artists in our own right.
What goes through your mind when you are in front of the camera and how do you maintain your demeanour?
It’s difficult to answer this question, but during the majority of shoots, in my mind, I try to paint a picture of sensuality speaking through my body, and using my eyes to communicate to the audience that sees my work.
You get to try on various outfits for your career – how has this evolved your sense of fashion?
I have been in the industry for almost six years. Throughout these years, I got the opportunity to try out a huge variety of clothes which has in a way forced me to see myself with different fashion senses; it has helped me realise I need to mix and match to create to my own style, and also to understand it’s not what you wear, but also how you wear it. Today, I’m open to all kinds of styles because of this experience.
Sayuri’s five go-to outfits
- Bodysuits and pants
- Crop-tops and shorts
- Biker-shorts with crop tops
- Lingerie tops with pants
- Long-sleeved turtlenecks and denims