There is an old saying in Indonesia, “rambut adalah mahkota wanita” (hair is a woman’s crown), which still rings true today for women — lush healthy hair enhances the overall physical appearance, while strengthening self-esteem.
“Healthy hair also boosts a woman’s self-confidence,” said Mona Majid, senior brand manager of Clear shampoo. “And you need strong confidence to really excel at anything.”
Since 2009, Clear has been organizing the “Clear Hair Models” competition for young Indonesian women, where hopeful contestants aged 17 to 35 have a chance to show off their beautiful hair, prove their talent and gain widespread popularity as the new “Clear Hair Models.”
This year, the competition attracted more than 11,000 participants. The jury selected 36 semifinalists to participate in a closed audition last month in Balai Kartini, Jakata. In the closed tryouts, the jury conducted hair and scalp tests, acting auditions and interview sessions with the semifinalists.
“The competition is a platform for Indonesian women to showcase their best selves,” Mona said.
The judges were hair and scalp specialist Dr. Susi Wong, senior film director Rudy Soedjarwo, actress Sandra Dewi and editors of top Indonesian fashion and lifestyle magazines.
“It was a long and difficult process,” Rudy said. “[The jury] had to be very careful in screening these fresh young talents to obtain the very best ones.”
When making final selections, the jury looked for contestants with beautiful healthy hair, strong talent and big dreams of achieving stardom in the entertainment industry.
Clear named five highly-talented young women with long beautiful hair as the winners of the competition at D’consulate Lounge in Jakarta last week.
“They’re all fresh stars in Indonesia’s entertainment industry,” Mona said.
The new stars, Atika Noviasti, Maureen Pratiwi Irwinsyah, P.M. Bonita Lauwoie, Rechelle R. Rumawas and Taskya Giantri Namya, will be featured in Clear advertisements, as well as fashion-spreads and cover stories by top Indonesian fashion magazines.
“I want to be famous,” said 19-year-old Rechelle, an avid ballerina and second-year student at the University od Indonesia, Jakarta, studying international relations. “I want to do both acting and dancing. If I have the opportunity and energy to do both, then why shouldn’t I?”
Her biggest dream is to star in a dance-romance film such as 2006’s “Step Up.”
Winner Atika also had big dreams.
“I want to be a full-time actress,” she said.
The 22-year-old is in her final year at the University of Indonesia, studying French literature. She had never modeled or acted in a movie before.
“Now that I’ve got a taste of it, I’ve become addicted [to acting],” Atika said. “I believe I’ve found my true life’s passion in this competition.”
Bonita is a model with a bachelor’s degree in economics. After winning the competition, the 23-year-old wants to become proficient in acting and singing to further her career.
“I love the entertainment industry,” Bonita said. “I hope to be able to exist in this industry for a very long time.”
Each winner exudes strong confidence and determination.
“Their stories will inspire many Indonesian women to believe in their dreams and have the confidence to achieve them,” Mona said.
This year, winners of the ‘‘Clear Hair Models’’ competition will also play lead roles in a romantic drama directed by Rudy Soedjarwo.
“It’ll be one of my best movies,” Rudy said. “The winners are all fresh young actresses with unique talents. They may look like the girls next door, but they’ll definitely mesmerize the audience with their acting.”
Rudy has previously directed a number of best-selling movies, including “Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?” (“What’s Up with Love?” 2002) and “Garuda di Dadaku 2” (“Garuda on My Chest 2,” 2011).
“The competition has actually made my job a lot easier,” said the 40-year-old movie director. “It’s crucial to have the most talented actors and actresses starring in the movie. But at the same time, the audience also wants to see fresh new faces. I can have actresses with both through this competition.”
Actress Sandra Dewi said the winners were lucky to be able to act in Rudy’s upcoming movie.
“Movies are like the ultimate [achievement] in the entertainment industry,” Sandra said. “It took me years of casting and waiting and failing and trying again to be able to appear in a movie.”
The 29-year-old actress, who has starred in dozens of television shows and movies in the country, started her career as a model in 2002. She appeared in several magazines and television advertisements before starring in her first movie “Quickie Express” in 2007. Through this movie, Sandra won the ‘‘Most Favorite Newcomer’’ at the Indonesia Movie Awards in 2008.
Sandra will have a supporting role as a doctor in Rudy’s movie.
“The winners are definitely luckier than me,” Sandra said. “But they deserve it. They’re highly talented Indonesian women with big dreams, setting out to achieve them. I’m very proud of them. They’re Indonesia’s new female idols. They’ll inspire Indonesian women to dream big and achieve their dreams.”
Sandra and the five winners will soon fly to Bali to shoot the new movie.
During the 120 days of shooting, the winners will receive hair treatment and make-up training, modeling and posing instruction, as well as acting coaching to improve their talents.
The movie will be released in Indonesian cinemas in late December.
“I hope they can make use of this rare chance, work hard and never stop learning,” Sandra said.