The Jakarta Post
Laura Basuki may only be 23-years-old, but she has everything set before her — a smooth modeling and acting career.
At a five-star hotel, Laura confidently strutted her way down a runway, displaying Chinese-themed haute couture designs from noted designer Biyan Wanaatmadja.
For the last few years, she’s been a familiar face in the fashion industry, gracing many shows for the country’s top designers.
Born in Berlin to an Indonesian father and Vietnamese mother, Laura began her modeling career when she enrolled at the OQ modeling school, set up by former model Okky Asokawati, in 2005. At 174 centimeters and 49 kilograms, her physical attributes were just perfect.
Laura said she made her fashion show debut by joining a fashion parade by Biyan Bride a year later.
“It was nerve-racking since it was my first time and I was displaying beautiful wedding gowns,” she said.
“I was also the youngest [among the models] and the least experienced. It was an unforgettable moment in my life. I felt great for being able to be a part of the show because Biyan is one of the best fashion designers in Indonesia.”
Her face soon began to grace many women’s and lifestyle magazines.
She expressed her excitement about being a model as it came with many privileges.
“I can meet many kinds of characters among fashion people. I also know the latest trends in fashion,” she said. “I also get chances to wear clothes designed by renowned designers and get my makeup done by top makeup artists.”
“Perfect” body and clean face are not enough to be a professional model, as Laura soon learned important lessons to stay in the industry.
“It is important to be disciplined and be on time, as well as maintain your own cleanliness and look and keep a positive attitude — which means staying away from being cocky or disrespecting others.”
The glamor of the modeling world has not changed her.
Outside the fashion runway and the film setting, she says she is a bit of tomboy and does not like wearing high-heels.
“I don’t like getting dressed up or putting on lots of makeup either,” Laura said.
The statement is probably a cliché, but Laura has proven that she has talent and skill, placing her name at the same level as other top models in the country, and starring in some commercials for cosmetics products and soda drinks.
While many models and celebrities are struggling to maintain their body shapes, Laura is grateful for not having weight problems.
“I don’t gain weight easily so I don’t have to go on diets,” she said.
Her hectic modeling schedule, however, has made her give up dreams of becoming a physician.
“I wanted to be a doctor, but since I was busy being a model, I changed my direction by deciding to study economics,” she said.
She may have to bury her childhood dream, but her modeling career has opened up a new path: the film industry.
Her face in a magazine caught attention of prominent filmmaker-producer-scriptwriter Nia Dinata to cast her in her movie Gara-gara Bola (Because of Soccer) in 2008.
The comedy flick tells story of two young men named Heru (played by Herjunot Ali) — a gorgeous but ill-tempered guy who works at a noodle restaurant, and his roommate, Ahmad (Winky Wiryawan), a gambler who has a small-scale printing business.
Both of the men love soccer, but for different reasons. Heru likes playing the game, while Ahmad loves the game because he thinks he might get rich from it through betting.
In the film, Laura really caught movie-lovers’ attentions through her role as a sassy, spoiled, rebellious and sexually active high school student. In her first-ever film, she was daring to perform kissing scenes with co-star Herjunot Ali.
“I wanted to star in the movie because it was produced by Nia Dinata. I always admired her work, so I trusted in her and decided to take the offer,” Laura said, explaining why she took the part in the film.
At that time, Laura had zero acting experience. For the film, she learned acting for a month under the supervision of an acting coach from the Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ).
Laura proved that she was a talented newcomer by snatching two awards at the 2009 Indonesia Movie Awards for two categories — best newcomer and most favorite newcomer.
After her triumph, Laura worked on her second movie 3 Hati, Dua Dunia, Satu Cinta (Three Hearts, Two Worlds, One Love) alongside young actor Reza Rahardian and veteran actress Ira Wibowo.
In the film, directed by Benni Setiawan, Laura stars as Delia, a Catholic woman who has a relationship with a Muslim man named Rosid (played by Reza).
Their love faces hurdles, including differences in religion, family background and ethnicity. They are also involved in a love triangle, as Rosid’s parents have picked a Muslim fiancée for him.
The drama received seven awards out of 14 nominations at the recent Indonesian Film Festival (FFI), including for the best film, best adapted scenario, best artistic arrangement, best actor, best supporting actor awards and best director.
Laura earned the award for best actress, surpassing other nominees like Titi Sjuman, Ratu Tika Bravani, Jajang C Noer and Fanny Fabriana.
The winning comes as a nice surprise for Laura, as she competed with veteran actresses in the category.
“There is a burden [with having won an FFI award] because my upcoming films should at least as good as my previous movies or even much better,” said Laura, who was preparing for her upcoming film scheduled for the middle part of this year.
“But, I like acting. If I have more chances, I want to keep playing in movies.
“Basically, I want to try every role, as long as I’ve got good directors and co-stars.”
The film industry, she says, is different than modeling.
“As an actor, you’ve got a chance to interact with your co-stars, while in modeling, it is more individualistic,” she said. “I like film better than modeling. Anyway, I’ve been a model for about six years.”
She said she learned many things from movies in the cinema.
“Before working in the entertainment industry, I saw movies only as entertainment. Now, when I see a movie, I pay more attention to details, such as makeup, costumes, lighting and the actors’ performances,” said Laura.
“As a young actor, I need to learn much about acting. I find it easy to cry on set but laughing is difficult.”
Besides strutting her way from one runway to another, and filming made-for-TV movies and TV ads, she also has started to spread her wings as an emcee.
Last year, she was appointed to host some World Cup programs, including the quizzes for private TV company MNC group during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
A soccer fan since senior high school, Laura said her knowledge of the game helped her present the shows.
Outside the runway, she is a sporty person, spending her time exercising.
She does Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, for around one-and-a-half hours, saying that the self-defense sport is useful for women. Not only keeping her body fit and in shape, routine exercises also help her stamina for filming scenes where she has to run.
For the long-run, Laura is thinking way ahead. “I want to set up a business of my own, or work in an office.”
But one thing is for sure, she does not want to put too much pressure on herself, preferring to let things flow with a promise of “let’s just wait and see”.