The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Unconventional cover girl

Sri Lankan-Jamaican Sharlotte Ritchie speaks to the Mirror Magazine on her love for modelling, being a twin and awaiting that big break

For someone who has  made the cover of the Sri Lankan ‘Vogue’ magazine, Sharlotte Ritchie really ought to be taller. The Sri Lankan-Jamaican model has always wanted to be in the business – she was modelling by the age of four and when the little girl drank her daily glass of milk without complaint it was because she was determined to be at least 5’9”. Now, in her early twenties, Sharlotte is resigned to being 5’5” but she hasn’t given up on the dream.

Standing out from the crowd : Sharlotte and her sister Sharnez (reclining)

Sharlotte based in UK says her parents met at a boat party back in the 70’s in England. “Growing up both cultures made their way in, predominantly through food,” Sharlotte told the Mirror Magazine over an email. “My Sri Lankan grandparents helped my parents bring myself and my twin up; they moved in with us straight from Sri Lanka Sharnez when we were born, so that mum could go straight back to work.” Sharlotte grew up completely aware of the “polar halves” of her heritage, but instead of feeling torn she says she’s “always felt lucky to have had two such strong cultures raise us.”

She and her twin sister Sharnez have enjoyed having each other around: “I’ve always loved being a twin! It makes you stand out from the crowd, which I guess made us both like to be different, so now we look completely different from each other,” says Sharlotte, explaining that she’s kept her hair short and dark, while Sharnez’s is long and blonde. However, it’s their parents that Sharlotte credits with giving them both the confidence to keep going. “They always made my sisters and I believe that we can achieve anything we put our minds too!”

Her heritage may have given her some unusual perspectives on beauty as well: She wrote her dissertation for her BA (hons) in Music Management, Branding and Promotion on how perceptions of beauty varied wildly across different cultures. “My supervisor Simon Poole really opened my eyes to a lot of things during the researching and writing process about the perception and power of beauty in society, and feminism in general,” she says. (Of late, body image is also something she’s had to think about on a professional level. “The older I’ve got, the curvier I’ve become.

It really hit home late last year when a photographer in LA edited my pictures to make my waist appear smaller. Being skinny is not something I personally find attractive for myself, but being healthy is important, so I work out and try to watch what I eat more than I used to, in order to stay in good shape, and keep my energy levels up,” says Sharlotte.)  By the time she was done, her dissertation won her the highest grade in her faculty that year, an indication that academic achievement is high on Sharlotte’s list of priorities.

“I worked really, really hard right from the start and got my first class honours degree. It wasn’t smooth sailing, I was ill a lot of my 2nd and 3rd years from being so stressed, but it all paid off! And my family – we’re so happy it was over!”
Luckily, the rest of Sharlotte’s life was just beginning.

She’d spent her time in college determinedly juggling her work and studies and modelling remained a big passion. She and Sharnez had been in contact with agencies all over London until finally, at the age of 18, the twins signed their first contract with MOT Models.

Sharlotte thinks her height probably got in the way of securing an extension on the contract, but she’s learnt to be her own best advocate. “I think I’m honestly still learning,” she says, explaining that she and her family will often brainstorm.

“Myself and Sharnez have degrees in marketing, branding and promotion. My Mum used to be Director of Marketing for one of her companies, my big sister Sharlyn has put together and promoted a number of events and my boyfriend has a degree in advertising, so I have help!” she says.

Sharlotte counts her stint at the London Fashion Weekend, her 2011 calendar among the highlights of a career that has included many promotional campaigns as well as fashion shows, but she has set the bar high for herself.

She’s interested in acting and presenting and has been exploring opportunities in both fields. “I don’t believe I’ve had a big break! I’ve worked hard to get everything I’ve achieved, but I’m still awaiting a big break! That would be lovely!” she says, crediting a host of people for supporting her with their skills and time. In the meantime, she’s going to keep pushing. “I don’t think I’ll ever stop, even if or when a momentum develops that I’m content with, pushing will only make me a better creative.”

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.