Designing a difference | Daily News

Designing a difference

With Miss Intercontinental Philippines Karen Gallmen
With Miss Intercontinental Philippines Karen Gallmen

Gorgeous, honest and extremely talented are the few words that describe Twinkle Goonathilleke, Miss Sri Lanka 2019 for Miss Intercontinental 2019. This stunning beauty queen not only won the coveted crown but conquered hearts as well. Her honesty and positivity is pretty impressive. In a candid conversation with us, Twinkle talks about her journey and lots more.

“I have witnessed my mom watching beauty pageants from a tender age. I was enthralled by the glamour and glitter behind the events. The contestants wore lovely gowns and the winner was sashed and crowned. I tried to imitate the contestants. Gradually, as the years passed, the desire to fulfill this dream became overwhelming especially because I believed that I had all the requirements that they were searching for. I am also into fashion designing. I won the Youngest Fashion Designer title when I was 11. This was a plus point in applying for the beauty pageant,” Twinkle explained.

She notes that she was back in Sri Lanka after completing her studies abroad when her mother and some of her friends spied the advertisements calling for applications for Miss Intercontinental Sri Lanka. They all requested Twinkle to apply as they believed that she had the chance to bag the crown.

Though the outcome seems like a fairytale to viewers, this 24-year-old beauty says that being a part of an international beauty pageant demands a lot of hard work.

“We had continuous training sessions and mini pageants. We also travelled out of Colombo to take part in events. Then there was a lot of preparation done for the question rounds. Miss Intercontinental is not just about beauty. It focuses on beauty with knowledge,” she emphasised adding that though one can hardly find time for oneself during this period, she still managed to enjoy the experience.

The highlight of the event was, of course, the moment that she was picked as the winner.

“It is a moment which replays often in my mind. Amid thundering applause I accepted my prizes with a heavy heart and happy tears.”

She recalls her days in Shalem – el –Sheikh, the beautiful island near Egypt. Contestants from 95 countries met at the event.

“We stayed in Grand Select Sunrise Montemare Resort. It is so beautiful. My room mate was an Indian girl. We took part in mountain hikes, ship cruises, camel rides, safari trips and cultural galabeya nights. The whole pageant provided a great learning experience. I learnt how to interact with people from different countries. Miss Porto Rico Daileen Vega was closest to me. She is very humble and friendly. We still keep in touch,” she said.

Her mother, Gothami Goonathilleke, is a chartered secretary. Her father, Priyantha Goonathilleke, works abroad. Twinkle is the only child in her family.

“My mom is my biggest inspiration and pillar of strength. She even joined me in Egypt to support me. I couldn’t have achieved such great heights without her,” she mused.

A product of Visakha Vidyalaya, Colombo, Twinkle pursued further studies in fashion designing. She graduated in Bangalore and interned at Paris American Academy in France. She recently launched her own fashion brand Fashion Panache.

“The brand name is very confidential. I have dreamt of launching my own designer brand. I believe I inherited the flair for fashion designing through my mom as she is a good artist. I own a lot to my father too as he spent a lot for me in helping me pursue my dream,” she said adding that she won the Best Youngest Fashion Designer of the Year 2007 title for her talent. The event was organized by renowned fashion designer Chula Nanayakkara and sponsored by the Sunday Observer. Twinkle had done four diverse sketches for office wear, evening wear, casual wear and saree wear for the competition. Popular fashion guru Keerthi Sri Karunaratne recognized her potential immediately and together with the other judges, he voted for Twinkle’s creations.

“That was one of the most memorable moments in my life,” recalled the young lady who has tasted success at a tender age.

Asked to share three beauty secrets and Twinkle advices everyone to drink lots of water, consume nutritious food and get adequate sleep.

A beauty pageant title holder’s life during her reign is normally accompanied by a whirlwind of events as she has to grace functions and endorse brands. However this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic such events have been postponed or held on a mini scale. Twinkle notes that she did have many events included in her schedule, especially working with HelpAge International on charity projects. However due to Covid-19, they are kept on hold.

“Hopefully 2021 will be a better year for everyone. I wish everyone will pass these uncertain times safely,” she concluded with a sigh.