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Friday July 30th, 2021

Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka celebrates young movers & shakers in 35 Under 35 list

Cosmo introduced its first special edition for the year: The 35 Under 35 Issue, featuring a list of 35 incredible young women, under the age of 35. They are movers and shakers in their own right in various industries, from entrepreneurs to eco-warriors to creative pioneers to activists and more.

Azara Jaleel, Anya Ratnayaka, Anuki Premachandra, Achala Samaradiwakara and Aarthy Arun

Rathnakala Kumaragurunathan, Sabrina Esufally, Shalindri Malawana, Shana Dandeniya and Dr Shanika Arsecularatne

The goal of the list was to put the next generation of trailblazers front and centre with the intention to celebrate these women doing their thing and inspire everyone to not let fear hold them back from reaching their full potential. Cosmo’s cover stars are an epitome of these qualities. RukshikaSeneviratne, Sharanya Sekeram and Shana Dandeniya also feature in the 35 Under 35 list and are the brand’s first trio on the cover!

Anoka Abeyrathne, Anitra Perera, Stephanie Siriwardhana, Nadiya Fernando, Shiandra Gooneratne

Rukshika Seneviratne, Shehani Rasaputra, Savera Weerasinghe, Selyna Peiris and Sharanya Sekaram

Despite a lot of uncertainty, we hope that the stories of these dynamic women will offer inspiration, propel readers forward, push them out of comfort zones, encourage them to stand their ground and help ask the difficult questions.

Melissa Dharmadasa, Iromi Perera, Lakshini Fernando, Lonali Rodrigo and Bimanee Meepagala

Nabeela Yaseen, Bhoomi Harendra, Randhula De Silva, Niyoshala Kumar and Nishelli Perera

We approached compiling this edition to refute the notion that women can only be deemed “successful” in her profession over a particular age—20- and 30-something-year-olds rarely making the cut. But, we constantly see young women stepping up and taking the reins. As such, the objective of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka’s 35 Under 35 list was to identify a group of young women under the age of 35 who are influential and leading the charge in exciting ways. We split the women into four main groups—builders, innovators, activists and rulebreakers.

Shifani Reffai, Tanaz Pestonjee, Thajithangani “Thaji” Dias, Yusra Aziz and Thyagi Ruwanpathirana

Here are the women who made into the 35 Under 35 list:


[Lankan women creating a name for themselves, scaling a business, non-profit or idea, and making an impact locally and/or internationally.]

Dr Shanika Arsecularatne, Director at Christell Skin Clinic

Randhula De Silva, CEO of Hatch and Director of GoodLife Accelerator

Shalindri Malawana, General Manager of Liquid Island

Tanaz Pestonjee, Head of Lifestyle Brands at Abans PLC

Niyoshala Kumar, Director of Beverly Street and Founder of Ayana Apparel

Melissa Dharmadasa, Owner of Bakes By Bella

Lakshini Fernando, Economist at Asia Securities

Nishelli Perera, Co-Founder and Director of Yeti Isotonic Drinks

Aarthy Arun, Employment Lead of the Women in Work programme at the International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Bimanee Meepagala, Vice President at NDB Wealth Management

Rathnakala Kumaragurunathan, Associate Director at Acuity Knowledge Partners

Nadiya Fernando, Founder/Director of You by The Wax Museum



[They’re introducing new things in Sri Lanka making their brand, business or industry better than it ever was.]

Lonali Rodrigo, Founder and Lead Designer of House of Lonali

Azara Jaleel, Editor of ARTRA

Rukshika Seneviratne, Co-Founder and Lead Designer of RUMPUNCH

Shana Dandeniya, Founder/Director of Café Kumbuk, Plus Nine Four and Quality Control

Anuki Premachandra, Former Communications Manager at the Advocata Institute

Shifani Reffai, Co-Founder of White Noise Media and Co-Producer of Shh The Talkshow

Shehani Rasaputra, Founder and CEO of Just Goodness

Savera Weerasinghe, CEO of Ananta Sustainables

Yusra Aziz, Founder of Podi Jobs and Co-Founder of WERK

Selyna Peiris, Head of Business Development at Selyn



[They’re the voices of change, bringing about social and political transformation against the odds.]

Sharanya Sekaram, Feminist Activist, Researcher and Writer

Bhoomi Harendra, Activist at National Transgender Network

Iromi Perera, Activist and Researcher at Law & Society Trust

Shiandra Gooneratne, Founder of Concrete Angels

Anya Ratnayaka, Wildlife Biologist

Nabeela Yaseen, Founder of Not Your Nangi



[They’re breaking down barriers, and tossing out the traditional in favour of the new and effective.]

Stephanie Siriwardhana, Activist, Singer and Entertainer

Thajithangani “Thaji” Dias, Principal Dancer at Chitrasena Dance Company

Anitra Perera, Managing Director/Coordinating Principal of Alethea International School & Alethea School

Achala Samaradiwakara, Co-Founder of the Good Market

Sabrina Esufally, Director Business Development and Innovation at Hemas Manufacturing Pvt Ltd

Anoka Abeyrathne, Founder of Sustain Solutions

Thyagi Ruwanpathirana, Sri Lanka/ South Asia Regional Researcher Amnesty International


Download a free copy of the magazine here and visit for more on the list.

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