Beyond the looks… | Daily News

Beyond the looks…

The pageant world had triple wins for this beauty who not only oozes determination but also the passion to conquer whatever obstacle that is thrown across her path. Starting off with the Miss Perfect 2010 crown, Sumudu Prasadini Abeysekera (nee Wijesinghe) has adorned both the Miss Sri Lanka for Miss World 2012 and the Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs World 2018 crowns.

Though her entrance to the fashion and glamour world was not something she had anticipated, Sumudu had managed to get to the top and leave her mark in the field today.

“I was a competitive athlete. A near fatal accident forced me out of that sector and made me give up my dreams to excel in the sports field,” the beauty said.

Miss Perfect was Sumudu’s stepping stone to the field. However, she says that her biggest achievement was winning the Miss Sri Lanka for Miss World crown.

At the Miss World 2012 pageant

“I worked so hard for that win. My husband, Mithila, was my best friend. He was also my trainer, make up artiste and manager back then. He was and will always be my mentor. It was a memorable experience as both of us worked day and night for this win. Each day we prepared well for each up coming mini pageants. We did not have much money those days. I remember that Mithila even skipped lunch to save money to buy some shoes for me to wear for the pageant,” Sumudu recalled emotionally.

All their hard work was rewarded as Sumudu won four mini titles out of eight. Though they were faced with many difficulties, Sumudu believes that the experience helped to define them and mould them into strong personalities.

She reflects on the Miss World 2012 tour and dubs it as the best experience in her life.

“There are a lot of variabilities in a beauty pageant. True, you need to give it your best shot but you should also have the strength to face defeat. Even if you are unable to win the crown, you can still take pride in yourself for presenting the best version of yourself,” she said.

Reflecting on her Miss World experience, Sumudu notes that she got an opportunity to bond with a lot of beauties from many countries. Her roommate had been from Seychelles.

With her husband, Mithila, and son, Akilesh

“All the girls were very tall. I am around 5’10” and about 6’3” on heels. I felt a bit short at times. However, I did not let that bother me and I am proud of that fact today. I got the opportunity to talk to Miss World 2011, Ivian Sarcos of Venezuela. We toured many places in China. I was selected for the top 20 from around 130 countries,” she said.

For Sumudu, the biggest challenge presented by the fashion world was getting back in shape after childbirth to take part in Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs World 2018.

“I did not plan to apply till the last week before entries were accepted. I was on the chubby side at the beginning of the pageant. I had to slim down during the two months that led up to the finale. It was a difficult but exciting period,” she expressed with a smile.

Her win made her the second Sri Lankan contestant to carry away both the titles of Miss Sri Lanka World and Mrs Sri Lanka World. Rosy Senanayake was the first to achieve this win. Sumudu was also crowned at the event by the Mrs World International title holder.

Sumudu notes that past experience counts a lot when one takes part in a pageant. She says that since she and Mithila had taken part in and won two renowned beauty pageants, they had known what to expect at the Mrs Sri Lanka World competition.

“We planned for one mini pageant at a time. It was not an easy commitment. You need your spouse’s support all the way to win this title. You need to look into your child’s needs too during this span. It was a new addition to our pageant experience. I remember that we used to visit the gym at 5 am and Mithila would sleep in the car resting our son on his chest till 7 am. Once I was done he would rush to office, come back home at 6 pm and get me to the gym again at 6.45 pm. He handled most of the housework and gave me the freedom to train. My mother also came to stay with us. So the win was a group effort,” she explained.

Taking part in charity events

Around 37 countries took part in Mrs World 2018. It was held in Las Vegas, USA.

Speaking about the benefits that one reaps while taking part in globally renowned beauty pageants, Sumudu says that they provide a worthy platform to start one’s career.

“You can get into a range of fields from the entertainment sector to politics. You can voice your thoughts aloud to an audience and you become a celebrity overnight. The drawback is that everything you do or say is analyzed and praised or criticized. If the pageant is lead by corruption, then all your efforts will be in vain. That is why I said that it is important to accept defeat even if you know that you are the best. Luck plays a role in this as well,” she pointed out.

She has learned to judge criticism and correct herself if she feels that there is something in it. If her conscience tells her that she is not at fault, she turns a deaf ear.

Sumudu has her own gym. It is a ladies only venue which was opened recently. She works out almost every day there. The place trains women to stay fit and slim while preparing those who aspire to take part in beauty pageants too. She has a website in which she dishes out fitness tips. She also conducts catwalk training classes during the weekends.

Presenting the national costume at Mrs World 2018

“Fitness plays a major role in my life. It is very difficult to juggle everything. We are an average family. We do not have any helpers to do the house chores. I manage everything from house work to running my gym and classes. Apart from all this, I have to maintain the image of a beauty queen for the public. That is very challenging,” she said.

Sumudu is the youngest child in a family of five children. Her parents run a store. Her husband, Mithila, works at a bank. He is also a national basketball player. He is 6’4” tall and plays center/ power forward.

“He played for Sri Lanka for more than 15 years and has won multiple awards. He knows the formula for success way more than me because he has achieved many more wins than me,” she mused.

The couple have a five-year-old son named Akilesh Bonuka.

Sumudu is a member of the Mawatha Social Work Society. She engages in many charity projects with them. She also works on social service activities with Mithila. They are helping to complete the retaining wall at Pasgama Rajamaha Viharaya.

“This ancient temple by our ancient kings was in the danger of facing a landslide. We have being funding it for more than a year. I urge any Buddhist reading this to support the cause to help finish off the project,” she said.

Though the pandemic has affected the fashion shows and beauty pageant world in many ways Sumudu says one needs to be creative to overcome these hurdles. She has gone online with her fitness classes.

Sumudu has also carved a niche as a presenter having presented the popular women’s television programme ‘Liya Sevana’. She says that she is interested if an opportunity arises to present a programme or venture into acting but not if it gets in the way of her gym classes or the time she spends with her family.

Sumudu and Mithila plan to start their own production house in the future. They hope to use some of the girls Sumudu trains at her gym for some of the projects.

“If you are new to the pageant scene, find a good trainer first. If you don’t, you are likely to lose due to lack of experience. By the time you realize your mistake the pageant is over. Talk to past winners, train under one and get ready. Find a good coach. Apply only for well recognized pageants like Miss World , Mrs World, Miss Universe, and Mrs Universe. Make sure the pageant is audited properly by an independent party. Do your homework and find your strengths. Pageants are not for everyone. Analyze the height and outlook of previous winners - both local and global. Do your own honest comparison. Assess and apply if you think you got what it takes. You don’t need to win pageants to be successful,” she concluded.

Short questions

* Full name: Sumudu Prasadini Abeysekera

*  Nick name: Sumudu

*  One beauty secret you swear by: Workout everyday

*  Three things that make you smile: My husband and son, traveling and eggs

*  The most precious thing that you own: My son

*  Childhood hero: I had no particular hero. My mother was my biggest inspiration.

*  If you can portray a role in a movie remake what would the movie and role be: I would love to play the role of ‘Blodreina’ (Octavia) in the “The 100 series”. It’s a role where you show the range from the very good to the very bad along with a lot of action.

* How you would like to be remembered some day: As a simple, down to earth, approachable kind of human being who respected everyone in the same manner.


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