Fahrani Empel another catwalk model turns actor
Mon, May 24, 2010
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - She"s one of the few Indonesian catwalk models who has made it on the international stage. After making her name in modeling, Fahrani Empel set her eyes on acting and setting up a clothing line.
With her tall physique, Fahrani easily towered over dozens of people attending the premiere for her latest film Taring (Fang).
Under the neon light, her long brown hair, gray skirt and pink blouse contrasted her tanned skin. Her look is easily recognizable for those who regularly watch local television stations or read local fashion magazines.Undoubtedly it is this unique Asian look that has helped her gain the international spotlight. Throughout her modeling career, she has been hired by agencies to walk the runways in Milan, Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, something that she had dreamed of since early childhood.
Born in Jakarta on September 27, 1984, Fahrani knew that she wanted to become a supermodel at the age of 11, but her stint in the industry started when she was five. At such a tender age, she starred in commercials and soap operas."I wanted to be an international model, just like Tracy Trinita," she said, referring to a female Indonesian model who rose to international stardom in the early 1990s.Fahrani was so determined that at the age of 13, she enrolled at the John Casablanca School of Modeling. In 1999, she graduated from the modeling school being named the best graduate, a credential that enabled her to contest the Elite Model Look Indonesia competition. She won runner-up.
In 2000, she represented Indonesia for the Elite Model Look International Competition in France and went home as a semi finalist.She then relocated to Hong Kong to build her international acclaim.While most of her peers were still bugging their parents for an allowance, Fahrani earned a solid living strutting down one runway to another in some of the world"s glamorous cities. She lived in Hong Kong for a few years before moving to Japan.
She remained in the country for two years before relocating back to Indonesia.Earlier this year, she received an award for the 2010 Best Asian Model, the highest accolade she has received in the business.Right when she is on top, Fahrani, born Fahrani Hasanah Pawaka Empel, has decided that it is time for her to come back to Indonesia and start off a bright new career here."I don"t want to live in foreign countries anymore. I"ve been living abroad since I was a teenager. I think that"s enough for me in terms of experience," said Fahrani."I still accept modeling gigs but I"m more selective now," she added.
One gig she is eager to do is one held by big name designers such as Biyan.But from now on, Fahrani will spend most of her time focusing on her clothing line Pawaka. The brand is the means by which Fahrani can channel her passion for designing clothes, shoes and accessories, she said.
Fahrani expects to launch her clothing line at this year"s Paris Fashion Week.Recently, Fahrani has also been busy working in the film industry. She recently wrapped up the production of Taring, directed by music video whiz kid Rizal Mantovani, in which she plays a lingerie model, a role that should come naturally.The 25-year-old is no stranger to acting.
On top her acting stint at the age of five, she had a minor role in the hit TV series from the late early 1990s, Lupus, based on a teen best-seller fiction novel from the 1980s. In the series, she played a character named Nyit Nyit, a love interest of one of Lupus" buddies.
She had a cameo appearance in the psycho-drama film Novel Tanpa Huruf R (A Novel without the letter R) directed by Arya Kusumadewa.The model had her big break when she was cast by art-house director Garin Nugroho, again to play the role seem best suited for her, a model, in a 2006 television production titled Supermodel.
Subsequent to the production, the movie roles offered to her became more challenging, testing her acting skill. She had a lead role in Joko Anwar"s Kala (Dead Time) and Radit dan Jani (Radit and Jani) directed by promising female director Upi Avianti.She received an award for Best Actress at the 2008 Indonesian Film Festival for her role as a devoted lover to a drug addict in Radit dan Jani, opposite actor Vino Bastian.
The film tells the story of a couple eloping to a big city only to find that the urban life does not treat them well.Where did Fahrani learn acting" "I learned acting on my own. I don"t have any mentors. I was very surprised when I got the award. I still can"t believe I won the award," she said.As a winner of the country"s most prestigious film awards, it seems wise to start thinking about a movie role that does her justice as opposed to acting in cheap horror flicks.
But it seems that quality films are hard to come by and she has to make do with what"s offered."But I don"t want to be too idealistic or too picky. First, I need the money. Second, a really good film with the right director only comes, like, once every five years," she said.
"If I have to wait for another five years, when will I have a chance to do acting," she said.Today, she said she wants to choose movie roles that present her with an opportunity to explore more characters and genres. But most of the time she said she had to be practical.For Taring, Fahrani said she signed up to the movie only because Mantovani was directing it.
"I know his reputation as a horror film director. I like his masterpieces, especially his film Jelangkung [The Uninvited]. If it wasn"t for Rizal, I would not be in the film," she said.
She also joins the production because it revolves around modeling, a world she knows well. "Another reason is because the film centers around modeling. So I thought that it was not that difficult for me," she said.If you think that you haven"t seen enough of Fahrani, you will soon catch more of her performance in films such as comedy flick Perjaka Terakhir (Last Bachelor) opposite comedian Aming and Istri Bohongan (The Fake Wife) opposite actor Dwi Sasono.
She will also be seen in a yetuntitled comedy film opposite actor Ringgo Agus Rahman.In August, she is expected to take part in an Australian-produced film titled Bali Smile, which tells the story about an Australian surfer who falls in love with a tattoo artist, played by Fahrani.
Social circles play a big part in this movie project. The director of the movie is a good friend of Fahrani and the story line of the movie is based partly on a true story about her romance with an Australian surfer, Luke Stedman.It also helps that Fahrani has a large amount of ink on her skin, something that she has no reservation talking about.She began liking tattoo from her early teens and she now has more than 30 tattoos on her body.
Some of the tattoos represent countries that she has visited throughout her modeling career. They are souvenirs from the visits, she said."I love tattoos. It feels so good and cool when you get a new tattoo. It is so addictive.
I want to have more," she said, giggling. But as much as she wants to continue tatooing her body, Fahrani had to stop. "I don"t think I"ll get any more because my boyfriend complained about them," she said.
Her other deep passion may be traveling."I like traveling. I used to go backpacking to many places. I used to like to go backpacking alone as you can do your own thing."
She only needs company when safety is concerned. "For safety reasons, I reserve my accommodation. If the place is considered to be a crime-ridden area, I would rather have a friend for company," said Fahrani. South Africa and South America are the only two regions that she has not traveled.
Fahrani is also happy to share information about her personal life. She does not seem to mind telling journalists about her relationship with Stedman, including a plan about traveling together to South Africa in the near future.
The couple also expects to tie the knot although Fahrani provides no details about it. If they go ahead with the plan it will be Fahrani"s second marriage. She married a New Zealander when she was 19 and divorced soon after.Fahrani is optimistic that her planned marriage will work. "He loves me just the way I am. He"s a caring person." Fahrani said of her boyfriend.