Janitha Perera - Miss Universe Australia 2022 Finalist Interview

Today we are catching up with Janitha Perera of South Australia, one of the 27 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2022.

Today we are catching up with Janitha Perera of South Australia, one of the 27 talented and inspiring women from all walks of life who are hoping to be crowned Miss Universe Australia 2022.

So Janitha, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

Where do I begin? I am 26 years old and very much a person who has always been good at her numbers. So, I graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and Corporate Finance and then started working full-time in the corporate world while taking on further study to now be a qualified Chartered Accountant. I have always known I want to start my own business and my experience in this field has given me the financial acumen to be able to do so one day.

I’m good at numbers, but what I love and where my passion lies is beauty and fashion. I am a content creator, having most recently worked with brands including Mecca, Australian Fashion Group and Forever New. A highlight in my career as a content creator was when I was featured in Vogue magazine for my involvement in the Adelaide Fashion Festival. I am also a model with the Agency “Finesse” in Adelaide and “GIANT” in Melbourne. My interest and love for this field stems from the goal of wanting to inspire women to feel confident in their everyday wear.

My dream has always been to one day work as the Editor-in-Chief at Vogue Australia. Just a few weeks ago I met the woman herself, Edwina McCann, who was humble, warm and encouraging and this experience made me feel a little step closer to my dream.

In my spare time, you can find me enjoying self-care activities like exercise, reading or having a great conversation with a close friend. My life can get quite busy between full-time work, content creation and modelling, so these are the things that help keep my cup full.

We all have motivations, mine usually around good coffee, but what was your key motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia?

The last few years of my life I have really spent focusing on my self-development. I have read books, participated in life coaching programs and travelled alone, all with the focus of wanting to reach my highest and best self. This is where my main motivation for entering Miss Universe Australia comes from.

I knew if I gave this program my all and embraced all the lessons, it was meant to teach me, I could come pretty close to the woman of my own dreams. Now, 7 months into the program and a week away from the finals, I can confidently say I am her. I am in the best shape of my life; I have learned to be more organised than I have ever been before, and I feel my most confident. I am proud of this version of myself, and I hope any young woman watching my journey feels inspired to step outside of her own comfort zone because if your dreams don’t scare you, you are probably not dreaming big enough.

As part of the program, you recently spent time in our hometown of the Gold Coast with the Village Roadshow team; what was the experience like?

I have always loved the Gold Coast, and it is my dream to live there one day. So, as you can imagine, I was really excited to know we were heading up there for our finalists’ trip. I had never been to any of the theme parks before but I have always wanted to go, so this was the perfect opportunity. From seeing the beautiful Dolphins at Sea World to all the crazy rides at Wet ‘n’ Wild – I loved it all! Getting to shoot my Official Miss Universe Australia Swim Shoot among the luscious greenery around Sea World was also really special.

What would you say was the highlight of your trip?

The highlight of the trip for me was getting to meet all the other incredible women participating in Miss Universe Australia this year. I feel this is a very special group of women. The best part is that we are all unique and special in our own ways, and I personally have learned something from each woman. We are all cheering each other on, and I find it so uplifting to be around this energy.

With everyone bringing their own unique and individual flair to the program, what is something that sets you apart from the other contestants?

You know how some people are more logical – the left side of the brain, and some people are creative – the right side of the brain; well, I have both sides of my brain equally active! I am a Chartered Accountant, so very much an analytical person. But at the same time, I have this creative side. I love fashion and photography; I am a content creator and a model. I am multi-faceted, and this is what sets me apart. Because I use my creativity and logic to my advantage in critical thinking, to be adaptable in situations and think outside the box.

Your next question comes from our current Miss Universe Australia, Daria Varlamova; in your opinion, what are the most essential qualities that a Miss Universe Australia embodies?

A Miss Universe Australia is authentically confident. She is able to take on challenges with ease and, in turn, inspires other women around her to do the same. She knows herself and understands that her differences are what make her stronger.

She is creative. Content creation is a big part of being a Miss Universe Australia, and she is able to find creative ways of communicating with her audience to get her message across by empowering other women.

Lastly, but most importantly, she is compassionate, and all her actions are driven by the goal of wanting to give back to others in some way. A Miss Universe Australia is able to add value through the way she speaks, carries herself and in the way she handles any challenge thrown at her.

Our current Miss Universe Australia, Daria Varlamova, embodies all these qualities, and it becomes evident the moment she enters any room.

Now travel is back on the cards; where is your favourite place to travel to?

There are so many places I want to visit, but my favourite place would be my country of birth – Sri Lanka. I usually travel to Sri Lanka every year, but it has not been possible during the last few years. I cannot wait to visit more regularly now to see my cousins, eat my favourite food and travel around the country, because there is just so much to see and do there!

What is something people may find interesting about you?

In 2019 I played the main character in a Sri Lankan music video, which now on YouTube has over 4.5 million views. When I go home to Sri Lanka, people still approach me by my character’s name in the video, “Sharadha”, which feels surreal every time! I played a strong female lead, and it was great to see people, especially women, resonate with her.

Tell us something you’re passionate about and why?

I am passionate about mentorship and women’s empowerment. As a woman working in the male-dominated fields of accounting and corporate banking, I often found myself being afraid to express my creative side due to the fear of what others may think. I always felt like I did not fit in anywhere because there was no one around me leading by example. What I really needed was a mentor, especially a woman. Now, I want to be that representation that I never had growing up.

Currently, through my work in banking, I am volunteering with a NFP to mentor individuals with disabilities to find work in corporate roles. I found when working with these individuals, especially women, that it was not their disability holding them back, but it was often their lack of self-belief. It is truly rewarding at the end of the programs to see these women rise up and the progress they have made in their own self-development journeys.

I want to take my passion for mentorship a step further by creating an online mentorship program that aims to help women excel in all areas of their lives. From managing their finances to dressing their bodies in a way that makes them feel confident to reprogramming their negative thinking, I want to create a platform where women can connect and feel empowered to reach their highest potential.

Owen George

Owen George

Editor & Chief of Gold Coast Magazine is a lover of great coffee and sharing the stories of the people, places, and events that make the Gold Coast such a great city

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