Former prominent model Arzetti Bilbina starts her own modeling school. (Kapanlagi.com)
Citra Isramij Pedju dreamed of being a fashion model from when she was a little girl, saying that she always liked to walk like a catwalk model and pose in front of the camera.
Her dream came true in 2007 when she was chosen as the finalist of Wajah Femina (Face of Femina), beauty contest organized by women’s magazine Femina, followed by her participation in the Puteri Indonesia beauty pageant a year later where she finished in the top 10.
After that, she received many offers, from modeling to being an emcee. But now at the age of 26, she has started to leave the modeling world by taking a full-time job as an account manager at an IT company in Jakarta.
“I like modeling, but I realize that this career does not last forever. So I only take it as a side-job,” said Citra, who graduated from Bandung-based Padjajaran University (UNPAD), majoring in economics.
“I got my current job when I was hired to host an event held by this IT company. They asked me to work for them and I thought, why not?” Citra went on.
Many say that here in Indonesia she is not actually too old to be a professional model, but Citra has her say about this. “There is an age limit if you want to work and have a professional career in a company,” she said.
She decided to take the account manager job because it fit her field of study, saying that she also wanted to learn how to work in an organization.
Money is also one of the reasons. “This is for my long-term plan. Here [working in the office, I receive a steady monthly income, while as a model, you cannot tell,” Citra said.
“In modeling, it really depends on how many jobs you get. The more jobs you get, the more you earn.”
Getting a formal education, therefore, was important, Citra said.
“Education is number one. You cannot just rely on the physical thing, which is the main criteria as a model,” she explained.
“Being a model does not last forever.If you are not a model anymore, what will you do? Do you want to finish your career [as a model] and end up earning nothing?”
Former fashion model Ita Adnan, who graced local magazines and runways during the 1980s and early 1990s, agrees.
She advises young models to be cautious about their future and to prepare themselves for life on the realistic assumption that they will not be strutting their stuff on the runway for decades.
“Still, formal education is important. You need to get a formal education as your asset when you are not in the [modeling] career anymore,” Ita said.
Another former model who runs talent and modeling agency Zema Management, Arzetti Bilbina, said, “I always tell my students to go to school and get as good a degree as you can.”
Arzetti, who holds a university degree in economics, is still pretty much engaged in the modeling world, passing and sharing her fruitful 22-year modeling experience with the younger generation.
Modeling might be a short-term career, but the experiences that models gain while they are in the business will be useful for their future.
“A modeling career leads to many opportunities because it widens your network and teaches you to be disciplined,” said Ita.
“Those are a model’s life investment.
So, you’d better make the most of your time while you are a model.”
Models in 2012 Indonesia Fashion Week. (JP/Wendra Ajistyatama)
She added that a model should be able to manage her or his time well and do something useful in his or her spare time.
“A model’s career does not last long. When I was still a full-time model, I told myself that I had to have something apart from the modeling career,” said Ita, who holds a diploma degree in Japanese literature.
“My parents allowed me to take part in many fashion shows on the condition that I had to finish my studies and I kept that promise.”
After she retired as a full-time model, Ita had a chance to study fashion in Tokyo and when she came back home, she was offered work as a public relations assistant at prominent batik manufacturer Danar Hadi.
She also still keeps in touch with fashion as she has had the chance to work as a fashion stylist in some lifestyle magazines and tabloids as well as a promotions manager for a jewelry company.
She has also used her knowledge and experience in fashion and beauty to write four books – on makeup, weddings, beauty tips and styling tips.
Even though Citra, Ita and Arzetti are no longer full-time models, they sometimes still appear on magazines and runways.
“Yes, I still get offers to show off designer gear in fashion shows, but it’s just for fun,” said Ita.
For Citra, since she has nine-to-five work from Monday to Friday, she only does modeling on the weekends.
She prefers taking photo session offers for beauty sections, for instance, instead of fashion shows.
“Doing a photo session it’s not so time-consuming. It usually takes only two to three hours for a photo shoot, while for a fashion show, I have to stand by a whole day for fitting and rehearsal,” Citra added.