Behind The Lens With Chameli Mahawalage - Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka
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Behind The Lens With Chameli Mahawalage

“Fashion is about expressing your personality with style!”

Sajith Sukumaran

Chameli’s no stranger to the camera. She has been the subject of her dad’s and sister’s photography from a very young age, reflecting on how confident she is in front of the lens! Curating her Insta-feed has become organic. Posing, smiling, editing, posting is a routine she needs to put minimal effort into since she’s become a pro at it!

Q/ Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Sajith Sukumaran

A/ I do bits and pieces of everything. I come from a background of design – my dad is a photographer and designer, my sister is a photographer as well but my mom is an accountant which is where I got my business influence from. I’ve been holding really heavy cameras since I was about 2 so I always had a passion for photography and I was very comfortable in front of the camera!

I left Sri Lanka when I was 18-years-old for studies and I was in Singapore for 8 years. As soon as I finished my degree, I was lucky enough to find a job there as an interior designer. But, they noticed I was good with communication so they transferred me to business development. After some time, I came back to Sri Lanka. I then started my own small company and worked parallelly in an advertising agency. I was really good at marketing, I loved it!

Later on, I got accepted into a university in Paris to do my MBA in marketing which I finished a while ago and I got a job immediately which is in English as well – thankfully because I’m still learning French! I now work in communication, employee development and digital learning for a huge automotive company.

Q/ What has your social media journey been like?

A/ Instagram and my blog started with a digital marketing class that I took. The professor told us that these were the trending marketing strategies followed by certain brands. So I wanted to try them out to see whether it worked and it did. I became public exactly a year ago and it grew very fast.

I wouldn’t credit my style more than I credit the marketing aspect for it. I always liked being in front of the camera and in response I got a lot of messages asking where I was getting my clothes from, so I started tagging the brands. I’m just doing this for fun! I always liked editing pictures and photography. Growing up, my dad or sister would always take pictures of me. Now, I also taught my husband, Antoine, photography!

Q/ What is your take on fashion?

Sajith Sukumaran

A/ I believe that fashion is not something important, style is. Style is how you express your personality, through fashion. Without style, fashion means nothing, whether you follow trends or not. For me, fashion is an industry; I’m not a believer in luxuries. You just need to adapt, you shouldn’t get into the fashion craze at all. You just need to be you.

Actually, I often buy clothes which I don’t know how to style at that moment, so I keep them in my closet for up to several years and wear them once they’ve gone out of style. This way, I also look different than others! I get inspired by the end users more than the designers, which is why I love Sex And The City a lot. Carrie’s outfits, her shoes, her bags! When Dior brought back the iconic saddle bag, I was so thrilled!

I grew up loving Betsy Johnson, and you can see it today with my colourful outfits! I love that kind of vibe. Zendaya is also one of my biggest fashion icons. She’s young and you can never predict what she’s going to wear, it’s very diverse. In a more local context, I like Sonam Kapoor a lot. She’s herself regardless of what happens in the industry which I really admire.

Follow Chameli on Instagram!

This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more inspo, grab a copy of our latest magazine or subscribe online.

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