The Mrs Sri Lanka competition turns into chaos

I had not been aware of this before but apparently there is a parallel competition to the Miss World competition called Mrs World, with corresponding competitions at the national level to select those who will take part. I would normally not have known about it but my sister in Sri Lanka asked me if I had heard about the sensational events at the recent Mrs Sri Lanka contest so I looked it up and, boy, it was a disaster of epic proportions, far outstripping the Steve Harvey debacle from 2015 when he declared the wrong winner in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.

Here’s the story.

Caroline Jurie won the Mrs Sri Lanka competition in 2020 and went on to win Mrs World. The 2021 Mrs Sri Lanka competition was held two days ago and the winner was declared to be Pushpika De Silva. At that point, Jurie created a sensation when, soon after she had done the traditional act of crowning her successor, she returned and forcibly took the crown off De Silva’s head and placed it on the head of the first runner up, declaring that the winner was divorced and thus not eligible.

But the 2019 winner, Caroline Jurie, stripped Mrs De Silva of her crown, citing a pageant rule that competitors must be married and not divorced.

“There is a rule that prevents women who have already been married and are divorced, so I am taking steps to make the crown go to second place,” Mrs Jurie told the audience.

She placed the crown on the runner-up, prompting a tearful Mrs De Silva to walk off stage, a video of the incident showed.

The organisers have apologised to Mrs De Silva, who says she is separated, but not divorced.

In a Facebook post, she said she went to hospital to be treated for head injuries after the incident.

The national director of Mrs Sri Lanka World, Chandimal Jayasinghe, told the BBC that the crown would be returned to Mrs De Silva on Tuesday.

There are so many questions. Jurie was the one who initially placed the crown on De Silva’s head. What happened between that and a little later when she decided to remove the crown? Why did Jurie not simply tell the judges privately about any concerns she might have had? And what on earth was the runner up thinking in giving a victory speech, even thanking the judges for her ‘win’, when there were clearly all manner of shenanigans going and that Jurie had no authority to award her the crown? And why were no officials taking any action while this fiasco was going on, instead of simply running back and forth in the background and even allowing the usurper to the throne to give her speech? And what was Wonder Woman doing marching onto the stage at the 1:50 mark and aiding Jurie in the de-crowning and re-crowning and then giving a clenched fist salute and later more fist pumps? I suspect that this was not a simple blunder and that there are all manner of intrigues that went on behind the scenes.

The police have been called in to investigate and lawsuits filed.

Incidentally in 1984, the first year of the Mrs World contest, the winner was Rosy Senanayake, also from Sri Lanka. She went on to a life in politics and is now the mayor of the capital city Colombo.


  1. Rob Grigjanis says

    Why is the show in English? Do most Sri Lankans understand it?

    Anecdata: The few Sinhalese I’ve met in Canada didn’t seem that attached to their culture, unlike the many more Tamil Sri Lankans I’ve known. I’m guessing a complex web of class and ethnicity…

  2. Mano Singham says


    Sri Lanka has a pretty good literacy in English and they have TV, radio, and newspapers in all three languages. This contest would have likely been broadcast in all three languages.

    That may be because a lot of Tamils came to Canada as refugees as a result of the program waged against them by the Sinhalese in 1983, many of whom lost everything. That may be why they feel more strongly about their identity as a group than the Sinhalese, most of whom I would imagine came to Canada for less traumatic reasons. People who are forced to leave may feel a stronger sense of allegiance.

    Incidentally, the events of 1983 were what made me leave Sri Lanka too and return to the US, except not as refugees.

  3. Rob Grigjanis says

    Mano @2: A friend (Sri Lankan Tamil) lost his brother during the “troubles”. Stopped at a police checkpoint and never heard from again. Just one among many such stories.

  4. Holms says

    What a delightful shambles! The rot began early, with Mrs. World attempting to jam the crown on rather forcefully, but I really appreciate the production/control room panic evident in them playing the fanfare… three, four times? Beautiful, Sri Lanka really knows how to put on a show. Eat it, Steve Harvey!

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