"Love what you do. Be who you are. Walk the path that’s meant for you."
As a fashion icon, entrepreneur and visionary – Otara is all of this, yet so much more. Believing in the power of a business to do good for; the community, environment and its animals while making a lasting impact and change in society is at the core of who she is. Giving voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves, highlighting environmental concerns which have remained unaddressed until now, and spurring people to be active agents of change and accountability are the key platforms from which Otara works daily to make a difference.
Transforming the mindsets of society, is a distinctive trait which Otara possesses – whether it be towards the way people shop and live their life, giving the warm hearted street dog a place in society or creating awareness and helping the majestic elephant in the wild. She has the ability to give people a fresh perspective that does not create only a temporary impression, but rather, one which makes a lasting impact and fosters transformation.
Aptly and creatively utilizing various media platforms to voice her beliefs, a significant share of Odel’s campaigns in the past and her current personal social media channels are dedicated to; the welfare of animals and the environment, raising awareness and reinforcing a call to action that have reached many areas of the country; Colombo, Jaffna, Sigiriya, Kandy and even internationally. What distinguishes these from the rest, is that they serve to tell a story which stems directly from the heart. This aspect of Otara is seen in every area of her life and it is common to see a furry friend visit her whilst she heads a meeting or even in the midst of a hectic work day!
I’ve always wanted to help animals. Along the way I got reeled into modelling and then fashion retail. For as long as I can remember I wanted to be a vet and help lions and tigers, but life has something else in store for me. I believe though that things happen for a reason and over the years I have been able to have a platform to convey a positive message on the importance of preserving our wildlife and our environment; helping many people and animals along the way. I actually started the business to raise funds for animals and it was never been part of my business plan or agenda – up to about fifteen years ago I didn’t even know what Corporate Social Responsibility was. I started Embark out of a desire to improve the image of unwanted animals by making owning a street dog fashionable and I wanted people to be part of it.
Otara has a certain aura about her, without a doubt. With her shy, serene nature and infectious laugh, she has the unique ability to command attention wherever she goes. Yet, most of all, it is her inherent kindness and compassion which leads people to find space in their hearts to be empathetic towards both humans and animals alike. For Otara, it really is about inspiring people to be their best; being the change they want to see and creating a world where animals and people co-exist in harmony, like it was always intended;
I feel it’s important to live in a world where we respect and treat animals well. Animals came first on earth and they never do anything which causes harm to humans out of malice and yet we put them in cages, people stone unwanted dogs or use monkeys as trick masters to earn money…they suffer so much. We can change all of this.