People

Carissa Putri: Acting
runs in the family

Courtesy of Carissa Putri

Many mothers see their daughters as little children, even when the kids have grown up into stunning women.

Some daughters are too shy to get much attention, but things are different for Carissa Putri. The actress and model will always appreciate every drop of sweat from her mother.

It was 9 p.m. when she finally agreed to have an interview with The Jakarta Post. “Is it okay if I eat during our interview? I haven’t had dinner and I am starving,” Carissa said after a ceremony for the filming of Catatan si Boy in which she plays Tasya, a follow up to the smash-hit series from the 1980s.

She brought herself a plate of Selat Solo, a favorite dish from Central Java town of Surakarta, which is also known as Solo.

It seemed, however, that Carissa did not take all the ingredients as she only had some cuts of beef steak and sweet brown soup on her plate.

“People say it’s delicious, so I want to taste it,” she said before taking a spoonful of soup.

Instead of talking about herself during the interview, the actress, who elbowed her way into stardom through religious movie Ayat-ayat Cinta (Verses of Love), shared her mother’s important role in supporting her acting career.

Born on Sept. 12, 1984, Carissa said she did not plan to follow in her mother’s footsteps, taking acting as a main job.

Her mother, Lily S.P., was an actress in the 1980s. You can see admiration and love in her eyes when she talks about her mother, whom she described as a woman who dedicated her life to her children.

“I previously did not have a thought to enter the entertainment industry. I did not foresee that I would eventually follow in her footsteps,” Carissa said with her soft voice.

She said she used to accompany her mother to the shooting locations when she was a little kid.

Looking at the beautiful little girl, people in the production house often encouraged her mother to ask little Carissa to join a film.

“My mom always replied their suggestion by saying, “Maybe later. Let her finish her school first,” she said.

She said her mother was determined to hold her decision. She was required to finish her public relations study at Pelita Harapan University and earned a degree before trying her luck in the entertainment industry.

“Mom was worried that I would be reluctant to continue my studies once I had the ability to earn money,” she said.

When she was in her last semester, a production house offered her to participate in a soap opera casting. Thinking that the activity would not disrupt her studying, she took the chance right away and was surprised when she got a role.

Carissa said she was thrilled when doing the first job and got addicted to acting. The path to the entertainment industry opened wider after she graduated from the university. She took a number of roles in soap operas, musical video clips and three films.

Her mother has approved her decision and is ready to lend her support in every opportunity.

“Up to now, she still packs boxes of food and vitamins, which will always be ready before I leave home,” she said, adding that working in the industry could consume so much energy as the schedule could last a whole day long.

When she was on a diet to get slimmer, her mom also kindly changed the rice menu into whole grain bread.

“I don’t suffer from gastritis, but I often suffer from dyspepsia if I don’t eat at the proper time,” Carissa said, adding that she understood the attention from her mother was because she was the only daughter and the youngest child.

She said her mother was an idol and teacher, who could give suggestions when she found difficulty in her career and who motivated her when she was down. “She is everything to me,” Carissa said.

After getting divorced, Lily raised her and her elder brother alone, Carissa said. She took the role as a single parent and continued working as an actress. “I see my mother as a great woman who really supports her children in anything we do,” she said proudly.

Carissa, who became a brand ambassador for an electronics company, said she now focused on polishing her acting skills. Catatan si Boy will be her third film after Tarix Jabrix, where she acted alongside pop band The Changcuters. She said the challenges of her three films were very different.

“After playing a very Islamic and religious role in Ayat-ayat Cinta, I switched to a comedy film. Tasya in Catatan si Boy is a different role. She is a smart, good-hearted and straightforward,” she said.

She said script reading for the film was done for a month and-a-half. The cast also joined a five-day intensive training in Lembang, Bandung to improve their chemistry.

“Catatan si Boy is a legendary film and it will be made again. It’s a huge challenge and I hope we can bring the same success,” she said.

Catatan si Boy was inspired by a popular radio drama before it was made into five sequels of films in five consecutive years from 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991.

Carissa said, even 20 years after the last sequel, she had not met a young man who was as perfect as the character Boy. “Boy is a dream. He is handsome, smart, rich, obedient to law and religious.

There is no such a perfect man in the real world,” she said with skepticism.

Besides acting, Carissa said she loved traveling abroad and photography. Going to countries with different atmospheres, languages, cultures, housing and views never fail to fascinate her.

“I like Japan very much. I have been to Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka,” she said, adding that the traditional houses and temples in Kyoto attracted her the most.

Planning a vacation in advance or joining a tour, she said, was not an option because her schedules were unpredictable.

When she found a good time for a vacation, she said she might quickly go with some friends, depending solely with the help of the guidebook Lonely Planet.

“When we went to Japan, none of us could speak Japanese and the people there barely spoke English. So, we spoke with body language. It’s so fun!” she said.  

She also showcased her tiny digital pocket camera to reporters, saying that she never forgot to bring it everywhere.

“I usually transfer the pictures to a computer. If I find the best ones I will print them and display them in my room,” she said.  

Carissa said she did not have a plan for herself in the coming years because she was the type of person who went with the flow.

She tried to focus on what she was doing and give her best to complete it.

“I don’t want to be ambitious and have too high an obsession because the pain will double if it cannot be reached,” she said.

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