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In-Haūs Dialogue with Tara Basro
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In-Haūs Dialogue with Tara Basro

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Written by Vivien Huynh / photographed by Alvin Dahono

Approaching life with integrity and candor

Somehow in 38 degree weather, this girl approaches us with beaming expendable energy that comes running from a place she’s been keeping in for a while. Maybe we’re wrong and this is a reoccurring state of mind for Tara, who knows? We’re standing there and our eyes are beginning to reveal a new woman who isn’t frightened by her own thoughts or ideas. “Come in guys!!! Welcome to my house!” she moves a stock pile from what seems to be the only chair in the central living room “..wait, wait, sorry this is the only free chair I have, well free now.”

She has just moved in, only just. Everything in the house is telling us they are now being stationed here instead of a box, and her new humble abode is already declaring a commonplace feel. Tara’s presence is all over the surroundings, you see it in the walls, you see it in the kitchen, you even see it in her plants. This is her home now. “When I was 1 month old, we moved to Paris, and then Beijing to Vietnam and then we moved back to Batam and Manado in Sulawesi island of Indonesia. We then moved to Jakarta for a little bit, then Makassar, then to Perth, Australia, and finally Hong Kong after that—” she pauses to take a breath “so as you can see my childhood was pretty colorful.”

“—sometimes it’s hard to listen, but there’s also moments where the quiet comes and I remember to treat myself better.”

The press likes to use controversial — yet what do we know about this one word that conclusively builds a foundation of how we see a person? Undeniably, Tara carries a distinct identity that for us showcases a body of charisma and independent thinking, a facet that may be valued here but certainly not all around the world. “I still argue with my parents sometimes when it comes to perspectives of life and conforming to the way of living in Indonesia. They see it as me being disrespectful, however in a way, they can’t blame me because Ive been exposed to so many different cultures, I kind of picked up a little bit of everything..” With a confident composure as always, she tells me that part of the beauty was being able to grow up in several different countries and to learn from these experiences. Starting from square one constantly with her brother, she has developed a thick resistance towards unfair criticism and for someone who couldn’t find solitude to where she should conform, this is a step towards the right direction.

For these are her notable hindrances, there’s also the exposure from her current reality. Learning to say no in order to create a safe space within herself and choosing to respect her mind, body and soul was a revelation for a young girl who began in the small pages of Gadis Magazine. “Being in the industry somehow you get to learn who your true friends are. There were quite some painful experiences which became so important for me in terms of being who I am today. The choices I make now aren’t necessarily to please people, but I make them for myself.” You can see her adjust her posterior to these untrained stairs that haven’t been given a chance to welcome her yet “—the most challenging part is that I have no sense of belonging. I have to sacrifice myself so much in a way. They want me to strip everything that I have. I’m not allowed to have any attachments to myself. When directors asks me to cut my hair short, go bald, lose or gain weight for a character, I have to obey.” An inkling of mutual understanding is shared and we settle with the epiphany she has found in learning to self-love. “—sometimes it’s hard to listen, but there’s also moments where the quiet comes and I remember to treat myself better.”

This could explain Tara’s ideal alternate life profession; a kindergarten teacher. One that people would watch on the sidelines rather than center stage, though an underestimated but fitting career for someone pushing empathy rather than ignorance. To her, being compassionate and respectful creates a resurgence of positivity within all of us. “I feel like people aren’t genuine to each other anymore. They’re doing things to please others instead of themselves. I feel sad seeing the new generations right now, they’re all the same, have the same idol..it’s as if they have no identity anymore.” Not entirely on different wavelengths, we both agree on this frustrating truth and I wonder again how this girl’s honesty has been questioned before. It could just be everything we have talked about so far, are we accommodating out-dated views because we’re scared of making room for contemporary ones?

“It makes me happy when the people I work with share the same vision as me” —as she consistently straddles to stay sincere to her beliefs, the people around her have candidly followed suit it seems. She continues slowly, “The script and director are also very important as well.” Like a boat without a team to set sail, furthermore she goes on to say director’s are “like the captain of a ship”— needing to know their ideas, their imagination, and their vision in exchange for a performer to execute and bring these imaginations to life. Since 2011 she has managed to make a film almost every year, her latest for the horror fanatics: Pengabdi Setan - Satan’s Slave, and whilst modelling may have prevented more, she has proved her acting credentials through and through. So did she ever really want to be actress? “I kind of just jumped into it”—she’s now looking at her odd assortment of loose decors around her new home, “I never thought that acting would be something that I would do, back then I was young and curious” apparently also a little spontaneous since this decision rested upon it being mainly an enjoyable career choice.

But can fun be tiring if the industry has high exceptions? “Well until today, I still don’t really know if I want to stay in this business or not, but I can tell you so far that I am enjoying it so much!” As she is raising her legs higher towards her on the steps, we realise there’s this radiating glimmer in her eyes that was left unnoticed at the start. Tara is a dreamer. All that time spent becoming this person we know now, fell on the regular uprooting to foreign lands— though not so foreign now, and unconsciously moulded a woman filled with yearning aspirations. “When I think to myself, ‘would I be able to sit in a cubicle and do the same thing everyday? No way.”

It wasn’t like we didn’t see this coming, “I am too adventurous for this, I want to do bigger things. I have dreams and ambitions, you know?” Oh yes, how we know the feeling.