Wearing a beautiful red jamdani saree and a model hood of a rickshaw, Shirin Akter Shela, caught everyone's attention at the Miss Universe 2019 in USA. A girl from Pirganj, Thakurgaon, she is best known as the winner of Miss Universe Bangladesh 2019.
Shela has a strong connection to her cultural roots, and is fascinated by rickshaw art. Earlier in February of this year, it was her idea to paint the tea stalls at Dhaka University's TSC area in this art style.
Shela is under the limelight once more. It, however, is not because of her beauty or her love for brightly coloured rickshaw art; but for striking fear into the hearts of her audience. She has broken out of the world of modelling and made her acting debut in Nuhash Humayun's Pet Kata Shaw.
Pet Kata Shaw is an original Chorki series that revolves around popular Bengali folklore and myths. The first episode, No Girls Allowed in This Building, follows the story of a young man who discovers a mysterious stranger in his apartment while trying to cook some fish. The episode was based on the myth that witches come to visit when one is cooking fish. Shela starred as the witch.
Shela wanted to highlight her acting prowess more than her beauty in the episode.
"After I came back from the USA in 2019, I had not really done much work. Because of the pandemic, there were not many opportunities available either. I received a lot of harsh comments from various people during this time. They almost made me stop believing in myself," said Shela to The Business Standard.
"I thought to myself that maybe acting is not something I am capable of. I took on this role because I needed to expel these toxic thoughts from myself, and I wanted to silence my critics. Nuhash Humayun was an excellent director and I felt great working with him."
The role however was not easy. The character demanded a lot from its actor. As Shela recalled, "I had to shave my eyebrows for this role. I did not have any eyebrows for two months!"
"This was very new for me. However, I was surrounded by great colleagues throughout the entire experience. My co-star, my director, and everyone helped me a lot. Now the audience will judge if my effort was up to mark," she added.
The episode of Pet Kata Shaw was shot during December of last year. From undergoing heavy makeup for the character to shaving off her eyebrows, Shela feels everything will be worth it if the audience enjoys the show.
Shela has learnt a lot from her experience in becoming Miss Universe Bangladesh, and her career in pageantry modelling. She attended many acting workshops after returning back to the country. Now Shela is ready for a career in acting.
"Besides modelling, I also want to focus on acting right now. I want to be involved with good projects."
Shela is presently completing her studies in Physics at the University of Dhaka. Once she earns her degree, she wants to dedicate her career solely to acting.