Beauty for a Cause: Diandra Soysa Miss Earth Srilanka 2021
By Sadira Sittampalam
The Miss Earth pageant is an International Environmental Event that uses a beauty pageant to promote environmental awareness, giving one winner the opportunity to be an advocate of an incredibly worthy cause. This event was therefore created for contestants and winners to actively promote and get involved in the preservation of the environment. This year, we sat down with newly crowned Miss Earth Sri Lanka 2021, Diandra Soysa as she continues her environmental campaign all the way to the main pageant.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background
I’m Diandra Soysa and I’m 24-years- old. I’m a part-time model and a Computer Science undergraduate. I come from a family of five and a sister to a younger brother and an older brother and we have a beautiful family of puppies and cats. Growing up I was the mischievous one always doing something crazy, I consider my younger self a bit of a tomboy as I grew up with my brothers. And speaking of my childhood I think I was lucky enough to have a very happy childhood filled with lots of love and happiness.
One thing we all share would be our extraordinary love for animals. Ever since I was a kid, we’ve had so many pets and it in a way trained me to take up responsibilities and challenges and be strong. Today, I own five dogs and five cats that I consider a part of my family. I think the most special thing to me about my family is the immense amount of love, unity, support and understanding that I have experienced all my life.
And especially living in a country and most parts of the world where gender discrimination takes place, I grew up with two boys and my parents never treated me like I was any different and that really influenced me to treat people the same way. I feel blessed that I have the proper understanding and that influence made me believe and made me want to influence people around me.
How did you initially start modelling?
It wasn’t planned. In 2018, I was asked to model for the Fashionmarket.lk and to be honest I had zero knowledge about modelling as I had just gotten out of school. But that experience really made me realise that I did have a great passion for it and that it was something I wanted to venture into. It also gave me a huge opportunity to walk for MBFW, one of the biggest fashion weeks in the world.
Then in 2019 I was scouted by The Agency workshop and they helped me come up with their constant support and guidance, they have given me even more opportunities to walk for CFW, which is yet another major fashion week in Asia, and to work with some of the biggest designers in the Sri Lankan fashion industry.
Have you always been passionate about the environment? Is there a particular moment where you remember suddenly being aware of everything going on in the world?
Like I said, my family and I have an extraordinary love for animals. Ever since I was a kid, we’ve had so many pets and I was taught to care for and protect our surroundings as well. We as a family spend most of our time making the small garden we have beautiful and nourishing not just for us but for our neighbours to experience the same greenery, in the world right now from COVID to natural disasters to animal-human conflicts.
One memory I hold close to my heart is the time that I took care of an abandoned baby monkey where his mother was shot. Also with a lot happening we tend to overwhelm and greenery has always been my remedy. Mother Nature always shows me that there’s a lot that we can be grateful for despite the unfortunate events we’ve been facing lately.
How has the whole journey been so far? Were there any significant challenges you’ve had to face?
Ever since I was nominated I’ve been actively working on many environmentally-related projects while working on my preliminary round videos and connecting with my global delegates and I’m hoping to partner up with many other organisations to give back to Mother Nature and to animals. Apart from that, I will be taking part in CFW and MBFW this year too. With a lot happening within a short time period, managing time was the first bit of a challenge but at this moment I think that same challenge has moulded me into a better, more productive person.
Holding the title of Miss Earth Sri Lanka is an honour, how do you hope to use this platform?
Yes! This opportunity is something that I humbly hold close to me and with that, it comes with great responsibility. I am aware of the number of people and the younger generation who look up to me, just like I used to do when I was a teenager. So I’m always trying my best to send a good message around for everyone to do their individual part to make our world a better place. Since my advocacy is to conserve animals and to educate people of all ages regarding environment-related issues, I would use my platform to work hand in hand with organisations and to reach everyone to create awareness and to make a difference.
What are your plans for your campaign going forward?
I, including my team, actively work with different individuals and organisations in making the surroundings greener, helping abandoned and unloved animals (especially stray dogs) to have a better life and conserving nature and animals. I’m looking forward to working on the same and passing on the legacy to the next successor.
What is the most surreal thing about this entire process?
Out of all the projects that I’ve been doing, spending time with innocent animals who are looking forward to having unconditional love and visiting beautiful places across the country to experience the biodiversity, culture and lifestyles of our own people have been a few of the most surreal things I would say.
What impact do you want/hope to have on the world?
Like I said before I hope to make our country and this world a better place but one individual can’t make that happen. It’s all our collective efforts that one day will take us there. I’m looking forward to using my platform and my voice to create awareness and educate so that we as children of the earth can protect and make our future generations experience a better world.
Are there any upcoming projects you are working on that you would like to share?
There are a few upcoming projects in conserving one of our beloved species who are highly affected by human actions and in creating awareness around a few important places which are rich with biodiversity. I kindly ask everyone who read this article to stay tuned to my and Miss Earth
Sri Lanka official pages to know more and to join hands with me.