Tiara Lestari's Personal Journal

My words, my feeling, my memories, my experiences. Mostly, this is me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Playboy in Indonesia?

I appeared on the cover of Playboy, Spain edition last August. I think everyone and their mothers know about that if you live in Indonesia. Lets just get that fact out in the open. Now, I have this blog for a reason and one of them is to be a medium for my voice for matters that concern me most. This is one of those moments.

I have been asked by a large number of Indonesian media about two things:
1. How do you feel about Playboy being published in Indonesia?
2. How do you feel about potentially appearing as the first cover of Playboy Indonesia?

I respect Playboy as an internationally known publication. Everyone from legendary Marilyn Monroe to Pamela Anderson to Madonna to Cindy Crawford have benefited from their professional relationships with the magazine. I have made a personal decision as a model to also follow that route last year. This decision certainly wasn't popular in my own country. Heck, it was a huge disappointment for my parents too. I regret that part of it. For that, I am sorry.

For my parents who I love very much, and for them alone, I have made another personal decision to not pursue that line of work anymore. Being on the cover of Playboy can be considered peak of any model's career. As they say, "Been there done that."

However, I was aware of one thing; I appeared in a country that does not consider Playboy and nudity as taboo. My appearance was never intended for consumption of Indonesia. How many Indonesians do you now read Playboy Spain? My pictures circulating on the internet happened without my being consulted. I do not have rights to those pictures. Not offending my countrymen was one of the criteria of my decision making process in appearing in Playboy Spain.

So now we are going to have Playboy Indonesia. It's hard to imagine a magazine with a very specific and uncompromising character published in a country where the same character is considered taboo. Why I ask? I am just a model, but when people ask my personal opinion about Playboy Indonesia, that would be my short answer. I mean really, what kind of content adjustment do they need to make so Playboy can be accepted by Indonesians? That is like asking TIME magazine to only do gossip or Hollywood celebrities news. Not gonna happen.

If you were to put gado-gado in McDonald, they would probably call it Mac-Gado-gado. Whatever content adjustment that is planned for Playboy Indonesia, it is still Playboy magazine. Period.

Should Indonesian Government stop Playboy from appearing? No. Especially if Playboy Indonesia already have legal documents to publish the mag. Should Indonesians who are unhappy with having Playboy in Indonesia voice their opinions? Absolutely. I am proud the fact that Indonesia, in many cases, can be considered more democratic than even the US. Heck, we vote our President directly, Americans do not. So let us debate without hurting each other. Be angry using our voice instead of our fists. You don't like Playboy in Indonesia, speak with your wallet. Don't buy it.

So, should Playboy be in Indonesia? In my personal opinion, I do not believe they should until TIME magazine started to write about Hollywood celebrities only :)

How do I feel about potentially being on the first cover of Playboy Indonesia? Just like my pictures circulating on the Internet... not much I can do about it. I do not have rights of my old pictures, so they can requests those pictures without my approval. If Playboy Indonesia ask me to be on the first cover, I will humbly decline such request.

There ya go.. my personal opinion.


PS: Teman-teman press Indonesia, untuk tambahan, bisa dilihat disini.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Outfit casualties

Posted by Picasa

Back in my comfortable sofa at my home in Singapore, I was sitting this morning pondering my two weeks in Bali. It was a great time and I am so happy with my new all-Indonesian team. We worked well together, had great chemistry and –for the first time in a long time- I really miss being home. Indonesia, I mean.

Behind the scenes, lots of things happened during the week long photo shoot; funny things, creepy things, annoying things, etc…etc…

For the photo shoot, we were lucky enough to have great designers lend us their best dresses. Special thanks to Mas Arifan Mas, Rere Kribo and great bikinis from Nico Nico Intimo. But, as normal condition of borrowing anything, the designers expect the outfits come back to them in one piece. MJ, my fashion specialist was the man who let me know every second about these conditions. I call him Mr. Don’t. He always said to me, “Tiara, Don’t let the dress be dirty, don’t touch the ground, don’t this.. don’t that.. don’t don’t don’t”. It’s his job and honestly I lost count how many “don’t” he said during the whole week.

When the camera is on I tend to focus on being someone else to get the “feel” out. The last thing on my mind is not to ruin the dress. The photographer’s direction is the only thing I focused on, aside from my own wondering mind. So outfit casualties started to happened.. a lot. One time, I let the long gown fell into the muddy ground. MJ was upset.. he gave me that “look”. I tried to remember during most of the session, but it was difficult to remember and It happened more than once. Sorry MJ. I promised him I’d do better next time.

The next photo session was bikinis and I promise myself I was going to be more aware with “guarding” the outfit. Sure enough, we were on this beautiful beach that had been covered with rain moments earlier. The sands were wet everywhere! Why make it easy for me! Hahaha.

The photographer started to direct me from standing pose to crawling pose on the ground. Gosh, it was kind of hard to crawl over the sands and focusing on my bikinis not touch by the sand! I was so focused on making sure that my bikini was not touching the sand, but the photographer kept directing me to pose lower, lower and lower without touching the ground. Man what is this?! Yoga?!

This time I gave MJ the “look” in between the photographer’s directing me to be completely down on the ground. He closes his eyes and turned away… I took that as a sign and began laying down on the ground focusing only to the camera. Click! Click! Click!

I lost the war with heavy outfit casualties..


PS: To Mas Arifan, Rere and Nico.. thank you for supporting me and I hope the outfits are back into your hands nice and clean :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A piece of what again? :) Posted by Picasa

Rainy hell? Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 09, 2006

A day of hell and heaven...

All of us woke up this morning all excited for the first day of our photo shoot. We hit the road early at 7am to go from our villa at seminyak area in Bali to the beach called padang padang which was about a two our drive. The place was ideal for photo shoot due to the natural coral rock formation surounding the beach.

From the edge of the cliff, we had to take a 15 minutes walk down a very sharp and narrow path where a rock formation creates what appear to be a cave under the ocean. Have you ever tried walking bare foot on the coral-reef? Let me tell you something, it hurts! As much as I want to complain, I don't think a bikini shot looks that good with my nike runing shoes.

The photographer took his time to make sure everything from the lights to color and composison was all perfect. Everything was set and click! click! the action started. Before the third click hapen, the rare yet mighty bali rain poured down on us so hard that we had to run into the cave for protection. That was a mistake. In less than two minutes, the ocean also wanted to fill up the cave with such force that we had to run out of the cave and into the rain to avoid what I would called a baby tsunami.

To make a long story short, the rain lasted for over two hours and all we could do just wait. By the time the sky cleared up, it was too late in the afternoon to continue the shoot in this location. We were supposed to take pictures at two diffrent locations and we got nothing. My management decided to go to the third location before it got dark.

With the exception of little annoying musquitos that keep biting my leggs, Garuda Wisnu Kencana or better known as GWK was a perfect location for the afternoon. We were racing against time and succesfully shot hundreds of pictures of me using three different outfits before the sun finally set.

To make up for the lost of time, the team decided to continue with indoor shoot back at the villa that lasted till 3 am! Talk about making up for lost time eh! At the end of the session, my manager Ragesh said to me, "Tiara, I thought we were in rainy hell this morning, but looking at these pictures, I think we got a piece of heaven."



Saturday, January 07, 2006

New Year, new team

My holiday in Bali is almost over; one more day to be exact. Yet, unlike other holidays in the past, I am actually very excited to end this one. Why? Because this week I will be working in Bali with my new All-Indonesian team. This is very exciting and very new to me.

You’ve heard the phrase,”there’s no place like home”. I am about to experience that professionally. I have been away from home for a while now. I haven’t really done much work in my own country of Indonesia. I made a decision to change that this year. While I am still going to be based in Singapore, professionally I am coming home this year.

First, I needed an Indonesian management that will understand my objective and can take me to new and exciting level of growth. So late last year, I signed an exclusive deal with a small yet dynamic artist management company in Indonesia called Kain Entertainment (Kain@cbn.net.id). They did not disappoint me. Within two weeks of signing me they have successfully assembled a very capable team for this photo shoot in Bali. In addition, they have signed a deal to put together a film regarding this photo shoot covering all behind the scene activities during the week long shoot.

Did I mention the photographer they got for the shoot? I have seen his body of work and I have strong sense that I will be experiencing something new in this photo shoot. His name is Ayang Kalake and, while he is not the most famous photographer in country, he certainly has produced some of the most unique body of work around. He is very intuitive as a photographer and has a strong conceptual approach to his work. I am certain that I will not be disappointed.

So, one last day being a lazy bum. And tonight I will be going to the airport to pick up a 12 people crew to get ready for the most exciting photo shoot of my career with my new All-Indonesian team.

New year with a new team Tiara. I can’t wait!


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Kuta beach and wasting time

Sometimes people forget the beauty of a holiday is in the simple fact that we can just do absolutely nothing. Lets face it, most of us always plan our days… meetings, deadlines, clients. For me, I have photo shoots, I have to meet designers, I have to meet my management, I have to write this blog, I have to do this, I have to do that ..bla..bla..bla..

Well, I woke up this morning ..ehm..sorry, I meant this afternoon thinking one thought: “What do I have to do today?”. You see my body may already be in Bali, but my brain hasn’t really caught up yet. I still think of things I have to do. It took another hour and the sound of the nice Balinese staff delivering breakfast in the afternoon to really wake me up to the fact that today is the 1st of January and I am in the greatest vacation spot on earth!

So I ate my afternoon breakfast, put my best bikini on, covered with an oversize t-shirt with a little Balinese sarong and started to walk outside. I just walked with my girlfriend without having a destination in mind. How wonderful is that? J

We decided to go to Kuta beach. At first I hesitated since the sun seemed to be hiding this afternoon. But the sun never failed me in Bali before, so I just hold on to my faith and went to the beautiful and very crowded Kuta Beach.

And it sure was crowded. For those of you who have been to Kuta beach, I think you know what I am talking about. It is far from the exclusive beach ala Ritz Carlton in Jimbaran, Bali. This is the kind of beach where everyone goes there. The crowd, the sellers of sun glasses, street vendors, the semi nudes tourists all fused into a single unit screaming at me saying “you are here at Kuta beach!”. Loud and clear. And I got it.

I understand the appeal of this little beach. It is a melting pot of people and their various intentions that truly makes Kuta beach what it is. No snob can last being here more than five seconds. If you want to sit peacefully, soaked the sun and not be bothered, this beach is not for you. The moment you find your chair, they came to you with their trademark smiles… the vendors offering you sunglasses, fruits, Balinese sarong and everything else under the sun. Being able to smile back and say “no” is a required skill to be on this beach. That is until someone comes by and offer you something you can’t refuse.

For me, my moment of weakness came in a form of an old lady offering the best beach massage for US$3! I could not say no to her. I was in massage heaven for an hour. During the massage, I learn a view things about her. I always knew that one can’t be in Bali without being intoxicated by the niceness of these people. I mean common.. the woman was giving me a massage with all her might for almost an hour and I gave her $3bucks ! She was so nice and enthusiastic makes me feel kind of bad. Until I realize that it was wrong to feel that way. She is doing her job with the kind of pride even Bill Gates would envy. This is a path that she chose to take and she is doing this to the level of subjective perfection she can actually attained.. I am a proud to be her client. It doesn’t hurt that she is actually very good at what she does.

I don’t how long I fell asleep after the massage. I was awaken by the sound of children playing around me, I look up and there it was.. the most beautiful sunset these eyes have ever seen. I really look at the sun. I mean really look at it.. perhaps searching for meaning of life and all the deep thoughts a human can have.

Not really… I am just trying to wake up after wasting my entire day doing absolutely nothing. Wasting? Naah..Today is the first day of 2006. I just thank God for the life I have, the family who love me, and the love I can’t explain with reason or logic. Oh, and I am thankful for the lady who just gave me a massage just now. Thank you.

Now back to sleep…


Sunday, January 01, 2006

The good, bad, ugly and the island Gods

As I step out of the plane at 9.00am Bali Time, December 31st 2005, I realize something good... maybe even something great about this place. The Bali sun embraces you with the warmth of a thousand Gods. You almost don't have to see the hundred of temples built a thousand years ago to know why this place is called the island of Gods. You just know the moment you breath the air out here. The moment you feel the sun gently touches your skin.. especially after spending a couple days in a place like Jakarta where you don't know of you are breathing O2 or CO2. A couple of days in Jakarta is enough for me. Being here, not a hundred meters from the plane, I know one hundred days may not be enough.

As I get into the car with my favorite Balinese driver, Mr. Wayan Bandem, I immediately noticed something bad is going on in Bali. It is too quiet and it is entirely too empty for being December 31st. At first I thought.. well.. It is 9 am after all. It may be too early for people to get up after being too drunk last night. But at 12.30 pm as I was on my way out to lunch with some friends, it is still the same. Empty. This is bad.

Where are all those people who usually flock the market, the stores and the main roads like Legian and Kuta. Where are these people?

In the evening, I went and had a romantic dinner with my boyfriend before meeting up with my cousins and friends later. We had dinner in an Italian restaurant called Fabio. It is a lovely restaurant with great atmosphere not to mentioned great food. Yet once more I am stunned with how empty the place was. I can literary count with my hands how many people enjoying new year's eve dinner there. This is bad.

We left the place around 11.00 to catch up with my cousins and friends to a place called Buddha Belly. The road on the way there was usually pretty dense especially this close to midnight. Well not tonite. We arrived at Buddha Belly in no time.

This place is new. It is a great place with very cool design. The reason we went there was the fact that my cousin's boyfriend was the DJ for the nite. There weren't really that many people there. It is more than enough to have a lot of fun though. And it was fun. I had a blast there. It certainly feels like we were having a small private party in a really big place.

Even though I had fun, I wish there are more people. Not necessarily for me.. but I am getting a bit concern with my brothers and sisters who live and work in Bali. I have spent new years in Bali before and I don't remember ever being this empty. I am sad to see this fact. I think this is beyond bad. It is ugly.

You see, Bali is a great place with nice, friendly people in every corner of the island. They don't deserve this.

I can't help but noticed that there weren't many people from Europe or North America the way it used to be. If you are reading this and you are from those regions of the world... I have a message for you: Screw your government's Travel Warning and come here. Get yourself a ticket and fly here where the smile of a thousand Gods awaits you. Call me simple minded, but there is no war happening here. It was an act of a few people stupid enough to ruin an entire population. Besides, haven't you heard the saying "Lighting don't strike twice in the same place"?

I am simply saying that Bali is not like any other place in the world. And if you're not here.. you are missing out. Period. These people here deserve to have their livelihood back to where it was before the stupid bombs. And you, my European and American friends, deserve to be here. A place where a thousand year old temple exists happily side by side with fast food restaurants and the first Hard Rock hotel in the world. Where pop culture meets old culture with such ease that they do actually live happily ever after.

Most people in Bali are Hindus. It is my understanding that in Hinduism there is God whose sole job is to guard specific parts of nature. Whether it is rain, or sun or life itself. I am here in Bali enjoying every minute of my time here. I pray that their Gods and my God protects this island and its people. I also pray that the same Gods opens the eyes of the world that Bali is still one of a kind in the world and everyone should be here. At least once in their life. Trust me.

Happy New Year 2006!