Blissful, wishful | Daily News

Blissful, wishful

She names strong commitment and a purpose as tools of her accomplishments. Natasha Happawana has many jewels in her crown. After being crowned as Mrs. Sri Lanka in 2004, she won the first runner up title in the Mrs. United Nations World beauty pageant in 2005. She bagged many subtitles at the competition: Mrs. Personality and Mrs. Elegance. She also won sub awards such as the Modelling International award and the Fitness award at the event.

“I believe that to accomplish anything in life, not just a beauty pageant, you need to primarily have a strong commitment and a purpose in your mission. Many are like kids - we have so many aspirations but very few are willing to put in the hard work; without that perspiration or committing yourself to achieving your target, it is very seldom that anyone will get anywhere. Looking back now, I believe that I was truly committed and I believed in myself and in my heart that I could really achieve this, this was a primary factor behind the success I won for my country,” Natasha enthused.

She believes that the most important lesson she learnt at the pageant was that when the contestants were together as a team, they were not under-cutting each other but helping each other, almost like a family. This was a new experience for her, one she had not witnessed in Sri Lanka.

“Of course, I think the most important part of that entire experience was that I got the privilege and rare honour to represent my country, to carry our Lion flag to the world stage proudly. This love and passion for my country is something everyone who is close to me is aware of,” she expressed.

Following her success Natasha continued her path of glory, achieving her dreams and making her mark in the fashion and glamour field.

“I believe that the industry has changed but unfortunately it has been a change for the worse. I see youngsters just coming in, some who may never have been on a ramp before, with an entirely wrong attitude; unwilling to learn or be corrected and who do not take kindly to critique. Sadly, they seem to attract a very cheap market and are ready to do anything for quick money, at the expense of standards. This is not encouraging for the growth of this industry, there appears to be an absence of professionalism,” Natasha opined reflecting on her years attached to modeling sector.

However, she says that one needs to approach this problem positively and take this up as a challenge.

“I have personally thought of a proper “Finishing School” type of academy, not only for aspiring models but also as a training school for social etiquette and standards,” she said.

She notes that today beauty pageants are a huge global business. Often times people are very critical of pageants and what it takes to be in pageants. Pageants are more than the makeup and big hair. They are community service opportunities for women.

“In today’s setup with many new pageants been introduced, beauty pageants are losing their quality and the real idea behind them. Sometimes the way it’s all been done and organized reflects this. Therefore, it seems like some victories have been influenced. Further more siting as a judge is serious business. A judge of a pageant should be taken seriously. The event might not seem like a big deal to you, but I assure you that it is, indeed, a big deal for most of the contestants and their parents. These people put a lot of time, money, and practice into competing and they expect to be judged fairly. In view of the circumstances, they deserve to be judged fairly. Of course, no matter how fairly the competition is judged, there will be some hurt feelings and some disappointed contestants. There’s no way around this, as everyone can’t win the crown. Just do it in your capacity as a judge. Transparency is essential. Having said that contestants too have a duty to go through all the rules and regulations and see how well he/she fits in . One must not find gaps in the system, creep through and manipulate it for their benefit. We must not forget that we stand on the international platform as Miss or Mrs Sri Lanka - not only by our name,” she pointed out.

Adorning a crown has been one of her childhood fantasies. She had always wanted to be up there but there was something inside of her that kept bringing on this element of fear, that she was just not good enough and that she will not be able to do it.

“So I took this as a challenge to prove to my own self and proclaim to the world at large that I was good enough to carry that title of Mrs. Sri Lanka! However, I also quickly realized, particularly when I went to the global pageant that winning the title was only one part of a larger responsibility. You must know all the regulations that govern your title, to live and earn that honour every day of your life, behave in a manner that is befitting that distinct privilege and not let yourself or your country down thereafter,” Natasha advised.

She agrees that life doesn’t serve one everything on a silver platter. Nor is it a bed of roses. All of us are presented with different challenges. We have our own cross to carry. Some of us are fortunate to find supportive and understanding partners. Others must do it all alone, sometimes with the help of our parents.

“Being a mother is a full time responsibility, so to attend to my daughter’s studies, day-to-day activities and also try to run a business and support ourselves must all be managed within the limitation of a 24 hour clock and therefore I believe that managing your day or being meticulous as possible to time management is the most important in balancing all these interests,” she said.

Natasha is the founder and CEO of Blissful Parties and Blissful Beginnings. Reflecting on the roots of turning into an entrepreneur she says that it all began when she hosted her daughter’s birthday party.

“I realized that I had the capacity to successfully organize and manage parties or functions. Being the daughter of a successful businessman I immediately saw the commercial potential in this. Today most parents don’t have the time or the resources to organize their kid’s parties. This is how “Blissful Parties” began. We have been doing quite well, until the present pandemic put a complete stop to all such events. However, I have not given up but diversified the business into other areas, like prepared food delivery and managing online events, which is fast becoming the “new normal”,” she explained.

Queried about her beauty mantra and Natasha says that the word ‘beauty’ has two concepts for her. There is the beauty that people generally define by the outward looks, which is only skin-deep.

“I should like to think of myself as a bit more; the second kind where your outward appearance flows from something much more meaningful and deep, from inside of you. Some feel that they need to spend thousands daily to maintain that outward look or glamour, but if someone calls me beautiful or find some beauty in me, I hope that it’s not only the outward, skin-deep looks that I portray to the world but the actual pleasant nature that is expected of a Sri Lankan woman and worthy of the title of Mrs. Sri Lanka,” she mused.

Though her priority is her daughter’s education and wellbeing, Natasha still has her own unfulfilled dreams which she hopes to pursue. One is to follow up on her MBA to a Pah D. She is striving to establish a home for the elderly and less fortunate. She also wishes to establish her own designer label and street food venture.

“I always dreamt of becoming a movie star which never came true due to various ups and downs I had to undergo in my personnel life at the peak of my career, especially as an International title holder, which I greatly regret. Well I haven’t given up on it as yet. I believe it’s never too late if one has the will power. Anything is possible,” she added with a smile adding that she believes that there is a “special someone” out there for her.

Her advice to contestants who are vying for a crown is to go ahead because they want to, not for any other reason.

“Take a good look at yourself in the mirror and decide for yourself if you’re good enough. If the answer is “yes” then go for it. If you got the confidence to do it you should go ahead. Do not do it because someone else thinks so. You need to remember that you will be representing 22 million people. So your attitude, behaviour and consequent conduct must all be worthy of the crown you wear,” Natasha opined.

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