Christina Britto, a mother, model, actor, author and conscious sustainable practicer, gives us an insight into her diverse life and living on a tropical island.
What are your origins?
Even though I was born and raised in Sri Lanka, my bloodline is from India. My father's ancestors came from a fishing village in the south of India and are known as Bharathas. My mother is also from a small town in Kerala. I think both my parents' families wanted more than a life riddled with strong Indian customs for their kids, and they were both sent to the Middle East, which is how they met. The rest is history.
Tell us about your career so far?
I started working at the age of 15 as a model, where I met the brillantJacquie Mei, who later became my agent. My career began with attending events., from there, I went on to be the face for many big names in Sri Lanka, including Embark, Dilly's and Ramani Fernando to name a few. In between doing these shoots, I gave television presenting a try and I absolutely loved it. I worked for some of the most prominent English channels in Colombo, even presenting the main entertainment shows for these stations. After which, I finally got the guts to diversify into movies and now have two feature films and one short film under my belt.
Additionally, I recently added the title children's author to the mix and am now working on my next book while I wait to see what the acting world has to offer for me.
Travel tips for Sri Lanka?
Your thoughts on the pandemic so far?
We humans have been living in a way that has not been feasible for the planet nor for ourselves. The pandemic has been a reminder of how we need to pay attention to what matters the most; ourselves and our loved ones and has been a reminder to take better care of our planet. Until we find a way to adapt and live in harmony with nature, we will soon find ourselves in an environmental calamity that we will not be able to solve.
In my home, whatever can be planted, gets planted and what does not get planted is fed to Ham and Bacon, my pet pigs. What Ham and Bacon don't like to eat goes into the compost.
I buy primarily second-hand clothes for my kids and myself. We give away the well-maintained clothes and turn the rest into rags. The kids are bought second-hand toys, unless they get presents.
I have switched from Tampons to the menstrual cup. By doing this, I haven't used over 120 sanitary pads or tampons.
I buy myself either second-hand clothes or locally produced items. I ensure that I can pass them on.
We avoid straws like the plague.
These are just a few things that I do, but I would like to add a few more things to this list to change to make things better.
What are you working on right now?
I'm in the midst of finalising my upcoming children's book. I'm incredibly excited about this one because it is a story about my family and my home. I touch on sustainability, kindness to
animals and encouraging gender neutrality.
I'm also hoping to get back to acting. After having my kids, I have been on a hiatus to focus on my kids. When I'm not busy juggling the book or meeting with directors, I happily struggle with homeschooling my boys.
Favourite movie and why?
I have a few movies that I tend to rewatch a lot, based on my moods,
Edward Scissorhands.What a fantastic way to teach people that your differences don't have to hold you back.
Love actually is a must for every Christmas. It makes me laugh. It makes me cry.
The movie Savages made me think and introduced me to a different way of life. I may not be capable of living it, but at least I know how not to judge it.
The last man from earth is an all-time favorite. It’s a little challenging to watch as it's a lot of talk with little action, but it will make you think. Really think.
I have a variety of favourite artists, ranging from Michael Jackson, Alice in Chains, Lenny Kravitz, Nirvana, Pain of Salvation, Rage against the Machines, Savage Garden, and Sri Lankan bands; The soul, Paranoid Earthling and Thriloka. The list is long and is full of many genres depending on my mood. On some days I'm drawn in by the music and on other days I'm drawn in by the lyrics.
Thoughts on the music scene in Sri Lanka?
We have so many great musicians here who do mind-blowing work to create some truly, original music or new spins on covers. My local favourites are bands who have pioneered such interesting sounds by combining Sri Lankan influences with foreign ones and it's such a pleasure to see the outcomes. There are bands here that could make waves worldwide if they had either the finances or adequate support. I have watched bands of different genres in Sri Lanka take the stage and can honestly say that I have never been disappointed. Most of the bands here play to share good energy with their audience and they do a phenomenal job with it. I only hope that the rest of the world will be so lucky.
Some would call you a hippie at heart, what is a hippie?
The hippie movement gained popularity in the 60s during what was known as the counterculture movement. The whole idea behind it was love and not war. Some say it started in the 60's in the United States but I'm sure there were misfits around long before that and in various places.
I think people would call me a hippie because I challenge the status quo and I live an unconventional life. I may believe in love over war, but that doesn't mean that I shy away from injustice or fighting for human rights.
12. As of now, I've done 2 feature films and 1 short film, the first movie I acted in was a Bengali movie called Tasher Desh, I was a character that came from a rigid society that slowly became more personable, this character tugged at my heart because growing up it was so difficult to do as I pleased because what I wanted to do in terms of living my life always seemed to be things that my family would disapprove of. In Asian culture, 20 years ago, making mistakes and being flawed wasn't something that was encouraged. I, on the other hand, was incredibly good at making mistakes and being flawed. I revelled in how real it felt.
During the covid 19 lockdown, our alcohol shops were closed and after the first day of them opening up, the domestic violence incidents skyrocketed in Sri Lanka and because of this, when I was approached to play the role of an abused woman that was aimed for the masses, I couldn't say no. I wanted to explore this part and be in a movie that I hoped would create more awareness on domestic violence.
My favourite dish to cook at the moment would be Biriyani. It's a beautiful combination of spice, herbs, rice and chicken. Making it is somewhat of a challenge because you work with so many flavours and textures and when I get it right, it tastes so good. I also really enjoy Baking.
Top tip for staying zen during lockdown?
Hide chocolate and wine, save money for rainy days, so you always have pleasant surprises.
Try working out a few times a week and don't go stir crazy trying to enforce plans. If anything, this lockdown has taught all of us that nothing goes according to plan.
Who are you when no one else is around?
Wow this should be so easy to answer.. but it's undoubtedly one of the most complex questions I've had to answer. My first instinct was to say, prankster. But out of jokes having two kids who are less than the age of 6 makes it really hard to get alone time. I try to avoid describing myself in terms of who I am as opposed to what I can do. I am constantly discovering who I am but what I can say is that I don't limit myself. However, at this point in my life, I am a female who loves to write, cook, do yoga and act.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would like to live in Seychelles. I am a big fan of the ocean and love the tropical heat. Nothing would make me happier than having a small house by the beach so that I can hear the sound of the waves as I fall asleep.