- Wasana Lakmali shares her responsibilities and goals as Mrs. Tourism 2022 Ambassador for Education
By Shailendree Wickrama Adittiya
The winner of the Mrs. Tourism International Sri Lanka 2022 competition Wasana Lakmali was recently crowned Mrs. Tourism 2022 Ambassador for Education at a ceremony held in Thailand. This is not only an honour to the country, but it also gives Wasana Lakmali the opportunity to continue her efforts towards elevating the lives of children in Sri Lanka.
Wasana Lakmali, who is from Padukka, joined The Morning Brunch to share her experience at the fifth edition of Mrs. Tourism, as well as her goals and responsibilities as an ambassador for education.
Uplifting the lives of children
“I may have been titled Mrs. Ambassador of Education in Thailand due to my engagement and activities with children during the pageant. Receiving the title was a moment of immense joy for me, but the following day it dawned on me that this honour was given to me with the expectation that I would do something for the education of the children of Sri Lanka,” she said.
Wasana Lakmali went on to add that the organisers of the international pageant are aware of the economic difficulties the country is experiencing, and thus extended their support to help the disadvantaged children of Sri Lanka. This is now her responsibility, she added.
Her primary goal as Mrs. Tourism 2022 Ambassador for Education is to uplift the lives of children whose parents are involved in the tourism industry.
“Due to the collapse of the tourism industry in our country, employees of the sector are facing a loss of income. My primary goal is to provide the children of such families with educational tools, and I am already carrying out work in this regard, with the help and funding of those who have seen my efforts.”
Experience at the pageant
She shared that questions about the country and the economic crisis were inevitable during the pageant. Almost everyone she met in Thailand asked her how she managed the expense of being there given the economic crisis. “In those instances, I was saddened by the poverty of our country,” Wasana shared.
On a more light-hearted note, she shared that a moment she recalls from the pageant is remaining calm at the dining table while others enjoyed the frogs, insects, and bamboo worms that are part of Thailand’s cuisine that were served.
“I was always friendly with the other contestants and by the end of the pageant, they were all my friends. Even today, I interact with them on social media and I feel my friendliness was a contributing factor to the title I won,” Wasana shared.
Participating in Mrs. Tourism International Sri Lanka
When asked how her participation in the Mrs. Tourism International Sri Lanka pageant came about, Wasana Lakmali said that in May, she came across social media posts about the competition. She then inquired about the organisers of this event.
“Those in the industry informed me that Thilini de Silva will be spearheading the event as the National Director, leaving no room for doubt about the fairness of the competition or safety of contestants.” De Silva is a model, social activist, and entrepreneur.
With this encouragement, Wasana Lakmali decided to participate in the pageant, and was even titled a winner in the talent round of the competition. “This was thanks to the routine I learnt from my Angampora instructor Vageesha Bandara. At the final round, I was titled Mrs. Tourism International.”
In terms of her training as a model, Wasana shared that her instructor or trainer is Rukmal Senanayake. He is the chairman and managing director of the Model with Ruki academy, at which Wasana Lakmali is currently continuing her training.
She said that Senanayake was the main reason she clinched titles in Sri Lanka and abroad within such a short time. “He was like a father to me, while Thilini de Silva played a maternal role in my life.”
Wasana Lakmali went on to say: “Rukmal Senanayake taught me choreography so I would not lose to anyone on an international platform at the pageant in Thailand. This helped me score a lot of points during the final round. The support from Milan Jayathilaka was also crucial, as he helped with funding to take part in the pageant in Thailand.”
Her greatest strength throughout has been her husband, whom she said was essentially her shadow during the pageant. “My mother-in-law was also a great strength as she took care of our two children,” she added.
When asked how one can balance one’s family life with beauty pageants, Wasana shared: “If one knows right from wrong and does only good, a family life is not a barrier to competitions of this nature, but is instead a strength.”
Sharing words of advice for anyone interested in taking part in similar pageants, Wasana Lakmali said one must firstly secure or safeguard one’s name and reputation in the industry, and secondly, get their training from a qualified person or established institute. “It’s important to take care of one’s physique. If you are taking part in a pageant, study it well and participate in those that are most suited for you. Good qualities are a great tool when going far in this industry.”