Poised, elegant and a beauty reminiscent of the famous queen Cleopatra is Priyanthi De Silva, the glamorous model whose face and hour glass figure launched countless fashion trends. Even in her casual attire devoid of make-up, Priyanthi is flawless with a softness that makes one feel overly protective of her, but her outward vulnerability belies an inner strength.
‘What does not kill you makes you stronger,’ is case on point in Priyanthi who has faced the vicissitudes of life with nerves of steel, a strong family backing and come out looking straight out of the pages of a fashion magazine! She is the perennial model who could switch from looking like a seductive siren in a cocktail dress to ultra- chic in office attire, extremely playful in shorts and tank top and more. Priyanthi, is sheer perfection in public and private with an appeal that is timeless.
Striking a beautiful pose on her rooftop with the setting sun as a backdrop, she was elegance personified. For those who recall the famous Rexona advertisement which featured the stunningly attractive Priyanthi and her mother, can come to the conclusion that the apple does not fall far from the tree, as her mother is a show stopping beauty herself!
Her outward looks are certainly not the end all and be all of her existence as this head turner has an in-depth attractiveness and a charming personality which makes her an amazing human being.
A walk down memory lane led to a startling discovery about Priyanthi who was an absolute tom boy, preferring to play with cars than dolls and get into typical boyish scrapes while following her beloved older brother around. Hers was a childhood filled with doting parents who lived for their children. Her school life at St. Bridget’s was idyllic but she refused to continue in her higher studies, mainly due to the horror stories she read in the newspapers of clandestine ‘raggings’ at universities which often resulted in a number of fatalities. Her fear led her to prefer the option of working for her father.
“Even as children my mother used to train us to type and send telexes and this spurned an ambition to succeed in a trade governed by the alpha males.” Armed with strong business acumen, Priyanthi reveled in her role as an arms dealer.
Yet the ravishing beauty could not be kept under wraps as photographers found in her a natural, who emerged into the limelight with her penchant for the camera as she herself claims to come alive in front of it. She graced the covers of many magazines and newspapers and adhered to the strict requirements made by photographers, designers and others in the beauty industry.
In the ensuing years Priyanthi faced the death of her hero; her brother Anil, who was a budding star in the dancing arena with his breakdance skills and good looks but sadly his life was cut short due to a tragic accident. This was followed by a period of testing in life when she could have allowed bitterness and retribution to transform her into a cynic, but the lady who bore her afflictions resolutely, emerged stronger much to the amazement of those who tried to quell her spirit.
She attributes her victory from the gut-wrenching effects of her turbulent marriage, subsequent divorce and the fiery aftermath to her amazing parents who still treat her like a child and indulge her often and her 20 year old son Dunith, whom she refers to as her confidante and best friend. They buoyed her spirits during the bleakest days. Speaking of her son, he clearly possesses his mother’s compassionate nature and expresses a love for books as Priyanthi had read the most vibrant stories to him since he was a child.
Her experience has further taught her that the education system should include special programmes to educate children to cope with the reality of life as sometimes children tend to live in a bubble about the facts of life, refusing to remove their blinds until faced with dilemmas, which is the reason for many suicides and the ever pervading forms of depression with younger people regressing without the correct mechanisms to deal with life.
Beauty from Ashes
As I ponder on this special persona, I cannot but think of her with wonderment, after all her outward appearance does not bear the blight of her adversities as she still looks so beautiful, replete with a caring personality.
At present she leads a full life as she works online for a Yoga Centre which caters to clientele from around the world, along with her frequent visits to Australia to see her partner, Dr. Harin Dias and her adorable fur baby Harley. Priyanthi is finally in repose and grateful for the people she loves and the fortitude she has discovered along the way.
By Rochelle Palipane Gunaratne
Photography By: Arantha Sirimanne